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Veteran Burmese Pro-Democracy Campaigner Dies

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 (NLD) with Aung San Suu Kyi.

Senior NLD leader Tin Oo told reporters in Rangoon Monday that Win Tin's contributions as a journalist will be missed.



"This is the great loss for the party as we lose one great leader. Win Tin, a journalist and writer, worked as chief editor for one of Burma's most influential newspapers, the Han Thar Waddy. He did a tremendous job for the country throughout his career."



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.



Thein Sway, an NLD member of Parliament, said Win Tin was selfless in his fight to change the country for the better.



"The loss of Win Tin is not only for individual members and the party, it's also a loss for the whole country. He sacrificed for the country throughout his life and he never cared for his personal interests."



He was at times 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.

(This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.)

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