Win Maw, one of Burma’s most famous musicians, has been released. According to Democratic Voice of Burma, he was released at 13:40pm local time from Kyaukphyu prison in Arakan state.
Freemuse has campaigned for his release for several years and last year he succeeded smuggling new songs out of the prison for Music Freedom Day. Nominated by Freemuse, Win Maw was the winner of the 2011 Freedom to Create Prize.
In a video greeting, Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi forwarded her gratitude to those who has campaigned for his release and said:
“To imprison artists for their beliefs and their ideas is to make our world more narrow. I know Win Maw personally and I’ve always appreciated his dedication to music. Music is an important part of our everyday life.”
From music to journalism
Win Maw is one of Burma’s most famous musicians, and he was also one of the VJ’s who contributed to the success of the award winning documentary ‘Burma VJ’, which uncovered Burmese regime brutality.
When Win Maw could no longer perform because of harsh censorship he started sending reports to the Norwegian based ‘Voice of Burma’ (DVB). His brother Win Zaw told the news provider Irrawaddy: “In fact, he didn’t mean to become a journalist, yet, his desire to expose the real situation inside Burma turned him into an undercover journalist for an exile news station.”
Arrested in 2008
When Win Maw was arrested for his activities in 2007 he was given eight years imprisonment. In 2009 he was sentenced to further ten years imprisonment. He was beaten and tortured during the early stages of his detention, accused of being the mastermind behind the in-country news coverage of the September 2007 monk-led uprising.
Democratic Voice of Burma – 13 January 2012: