Myanmar: Musician Win Maw sentenced

English PEN strongly protests the six-year prison sentence handed down to leading Burmese musician Win Maw.

On 11 November 2008 it was reported that leading Burmese musician Win Maw had been sentenced to six years imprisonment for ‘sending false news abroad’ after sending news reports and video footage to the Norway-based Democratic Voice of Burma radio station during the protests in August and September 2007. According to our information, Win Maw was arrested on 27 November 2007 in a Rangoon teashop and charged under article 5 (j) of the penal code with ‘threatening national security’. He has since been held in Insein prison, in Myanmar’s capital city Rangoon.

Win Maw, aged forty-six, was 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).

For our previous report on Win Maw, please click here.


A major crackdown in Burma has been underway since early September 2007, following demonstrations led by monks and pro-democracy activists which began on 19 August 2007. Writers and journalists are among the scores of people to have been detained. All of those arrested in the crackdown in September 2007 are now thought to have been freed, but many remain under heavy restriction and the authorities are continuing to crackdown on any expressions of dissent. Today, 11 November 2008, it has been reported that about forty Burmese dissidents, including human rights defenders and Buddhists monks have been sentenced by a court in Insein Prison, Rangoon, to up to sixty-five years in prison. 

For further background, please see:

Appeals to Myanmar (Burma) Embassies:

While the situation in Burma is still critical, letters sent to the country may not be received or taken as a priority. It is therefore recommended that appeals be sent to the diplomatic representative of Myanmar (Burma) in the UK:

– protesting the six-year sentence imposed on musician Win Maw;
– demanding his immediate and unconditional release and that of all those currently detained in Myanmar in violation of Article 19 of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights.


Appeals to:


His Excellency U Nay Win
Embassy of the Union of Myanmar
19A Charles Street
Berkeley Square

Letters to the press:

PEN members may consider writing letters to their national newspapers expressing alarm at events in Burma, and highlighting Win Maw’s case to illustrate the many years of repression in the country.

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