RANGOON — Win Tin, possibly Burma’s best-known opposition figure after Aung San Suu Kyi, was admitted to Rangoon’s Greencross Hospital overnight due to hip problems.
The National League for Democracy (NLD) co-founder requires physiotherapy for hip problems and is expected to be in hospital for around a week, Zaw Myo Aung, who is Win Tin’s assistant, said Thursday.
Zaw Myo Aung told The Irrawaddy that the 84-year-old politician and former journalist was otherwise in good shape, despite facing several days in a hospital bed. Win Tin was previously hospitalized in September 2013 for respiratory problems.
“He is in good health and keen to get back to work as soon as possible. The main problem is that his hip means he cannot walk properly,” Zaw Myo Aung said.
Win Tin’s doctor requested that the long-time anti-military activist, who spent almost two decades in jail as punishment for his efforts to campaign for democracy in Burma, be admitted to hospital on Wednesday morning.
March 12, however, was Win Tin’s 84th birthday, so the ex-political prisoner preferred to mark the occasion first with a dinner attended by around 70 friends, according to Zaw Myo Aung.
“Min Ko Naing and several other 88 Generation leaders attended, but nobody from government,” said Zaw Myo Aung.
Last year Win Tin—who was kept in solitary confinement and denied some medical treatment while in jail—sought an apology from Burma’s former military rulers for their treatment of political prisoners.
“They have to admit what they did to us because many people died,” the ex-political prisoner told The Irrawaddy in October 2013. “It’s not only for me but for all political prisoners mistreated by the country’s military dictatorship since 1988.”
The total number of political prisoners and prisoners of conscience in Burma over the five decades of military rule could have been as high as 10,000, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners-Burma.
Last month the NLD and the 88 Generation, a group of former student protesters who fronted Burma’s 1988 demonstrations against military rule, publicized a pact to work together on issues such as reform of Burma’s 2008 Constitution, which critics say impedes democracy in Burma.
The forthright Win Tin has long been a trenchant critic of Burma’s military rulers and of the country’s current reforms. In more recent times he told foreign media that NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi has become too close to Burma’s government.
“U Win Tin is one of the most important leaders in our country,” Mya Aye, an 88 Generation leader, told The Irrawaddy. “We wish him a good recovery,” he said.
As well as holding a senior role in the NLD, which is Burma’s biggest opposition party and favorite to win the most seats in the 2015 national elections, Win Tin heads the Hanthawaddy U Win Tin Foundation, which helps former and current political prisoners.
“He had some work to finish as well, yesterday, and that was another reason he gave for waiting until last night before going to hospital,” said Zaw Myo Aung.