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Veteran Burmese Pro-Democracy Campaigner Dies


FILE - Win Tin, a former political prisoner and an opposition party stalwart poses for a picture at his home in Rangoon, Burma.
Win Tin, a prominent journalist and the co-founder of the pro-democracy opposition in Burma, also known as Myanmar, has died at the age of 84.

National League for Democracy officials said Win Tin died Monday. The former newspaper editor founded the National League for Democracy with Aung San Suu Kyi.

A NLD spokesman said Win Tin was "a great pillar of strength" and his death is "a great loss" to the NLD and the country.

Win Tin became Burma's longest-serving political prisoner after challenging military rule by establishing the NLD. In 1989, Win Tin was sent to prison, while Aung San Suu Kyi was placed under house arrest. He was freed in 2008 and continued to work with the NLD, calling on the military to relinquish power. He said democracy would never come to Burma as along as the military continued to dominate the political landscape.

While in prison, Win Tin wrote poems on the walls of his cell with ink made of brick powder and water, according to supporters who visited him.

At certain times during his incarceration he was held in a cell designed for military dogs, was not provided any bedding, and was deprived of food and water for long periods of time. After he was released, he continued wearing his blue prison shirt as a sign of protest against military rule.

It was widely believed the military feared Win Tin for his strong intellect, believing he was linked to the country's former Communist Party and was advising Aung San Suu Kyi on political strategy and tactics.
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