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Pro-democracy musician detained, reportedly very ill following torture, faces possible prison term

(WiPC/IFEX) - WiPC is gravely concerned for the well-being of leading Burmese musician Win Maw, who was arrested on 27 November 2007 and is said to be seriously ill as a result of torture in detention. International PEN seeks immediate assurances of Win Maw's well being and guarantees that he is receiving all necessary medical treatment. WiPC calls for his immediate and unconditional release, as well as of all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

According to WiPC's information, popular Burmese musician Win Maw was arrested on 27 November 2007 and is held in Insein Prison, Yangon, charged under article 5 (j) of the penal code with "threatening national security". News of his arrest has become known to WiPC only in recent days. If convicted, he faces up to seven years in prison. His arrest is thought to be part of the wider crackdown on pro-democracy activists.

Win Maw is lead guitarist in the music group Shwe Thansin, which was one of the top bands in Burma in the 1990's. He was previously imprisoned from 1997-2003 for writing songs in support of Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD). It is thought that his current detention may also be linked to his song writing, although confirmation is needed.

It was reported on 7 May 2008 that Win Maw had been transferred to the prison hospital after a series of interrogation sessions carried out by officials of the Military Security Affairs. He is said to have suffered suspected collapsed lungs as a result of "water torture", and to have now contracted pneumonia. His family has been denied access to him for over three weeks, and there are grave concerns for his welfare.

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