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Prominent Burmese Political Prisoner Launches Hunger Strike - 2003-04-28


A former university rector who is serving a seven-year prison term in Burma has started a hunger strike to protest alleged human rights violations in the Southeast Asian country's prison system.

75-year-old Salai Tun Than started a seven-day hunger strike at Rangoon's Insein Prison Sunday to protest the continued imprisonment of 14,00 political prisoners, interrogations of prisoners after visits by United Nations envoys, unsanitary prison conditions, restrictions on religious freedom and lack of medical treatment.

Salai Tun Than, the retired rector of Yezin University in Burma, was arrested on November 29th of 2001. He was given a seven-year prison sentence for passing out leaflets in front of the Rangoon City Hall calling for the government to hold a general election and unconditionally transfer state power to the winning party.

Burma's military junta has refused to turn over power since losing 1990 elections to the opposition National League for Democracy party.

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