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Veteran Burmese Opposition Leader Detained for Questioning


Authorities in Burma have briefly detained veteran opposition leader U Win Tin, days after he published an article critical of the upcoming elections planned by military leaders.

The 80-year-old opposition leader was taken from his home Saturday morning for questing, but was allowed to return home several hours later.

Following his release, U Win Tin told VOA (Burmese Service) that intelligence officers interrogated him because some youths in custody mentioned his name. He said he denied any wrongdoing.

In an opinion piece published in The Washington Post Wednesday, U Win Tin denounced the planned 2010 election as a sham designed to give legitimacy to the regime.

He also criticized U.S. Senator Jim Webb's recent visit to Burma, saying his effort to establish a meaningful dialogue with Burma's ruling authorities has had a damaging effect on the democratic movement.

U Win Tin is one of the founders of Burma's National League for democracy and a close aide of the detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He spent 19 years in the notorious Insein prison outside Rangoon before he was released last year.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent most of the past two decades in some form of detention. She was recently sentenced to 18 months of house detention for violating terms of her house arrest when she allowed American John Yettaw to stay at her lakeside Rangoon home after he swam there uninvited in May.

Hundreds of other activists are held in prisons throughout Burma. Critics say the regime is making every effort to silence voices of freedom through next year's election.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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