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Police release senior opposition leader U Win Tin after detaining, questioning him for several hours

(Mizzima/IFEX) - U Win Tin, a senior leader of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party, was released by the police special branch after they detained and questioned him for several hours on 12 September 2009.

Sources close to U Win Tin said the opposition leader was sent back by the police to the house in the Kyaukkone ward of Yankin Township in Rangoon, where he had been picked up earlier in the day.

The Rangoon police special branch took the influential opposition leader from his friend's residence, where he currently lives, at about 10:00 a.m. (local time), saying "they needed to ask a few questions", and brought him to the Aung Tha Pyay interrogation centre.

U Win Tin was with his friend Ohn Tun and another friend when the police came to fetch him.

The veteran journalist, who recently had a pacemaker installed in his heart, wrote a critical article on 9 September for "The Washington Post" about the ruling junta's planned elections, entitled "An election Burma's people don't need".

Burma's ruling military regime conducted a referendum in May 2008 to approve a newly drafted constitution even as the country still reeled from the death of over 140,000 people in the wake of Cyclone Nargis that hit the country's coastal region of Irrawaddy.

As part of its seven-step roadmap to democracy, the junta, following the approval of the constitution in a referendum, which critics and opposition called a "sham", is planning to hold general elections in 2010.

In his article, U Win Tin stressed the need for dialogue between the junta and the opposition party, and urged the junta to begin the process of national reconciliation by starting with the release of detained NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other political prisoners.

U Win Tin spent 19 years in prison for his political convictions and was released in November 2008.

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    (SEAPA/IFEX) - Burmese journalist U Win Tin, the longest term political prisoner in military-ruled Burma, was released on 23 September 2008, along with 9,000 other prisoners, media reports said.

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