By Hla Hla Htay
YANGON–Win Tin, one of the founders of Myanmar’s pro-democracy opposition and the nation’s longest-serving political prisoner, died Monday at the age of 84 after battling for decades to bring freedom to a nation that suffered under military rule. A former journalist and veteran campaigner, whose near two decades in jail failed to dull his commitment to the democratic cause, had suffered worsening ill health in recent weeks.
He died in hospital in Yangon early Monday, National League for Democracy party spokesman Nyan Win told AFP. A funeral service will be held on Wednesday. A towering figure within the democracy movement, Win Tin formed the NLD with Aung San Suu Kyi in 1988 and was imprisoned the following year in the wake of a student-led pro-democracy uprising. He reiterated his support for party leader Suu Kyi in the days before he died, according to his long-time assistant Yar Zar. “We are so sad to have lost him — it is like the world has been lost,” he told AFP. “But we have many things to do. We will continue as he asked and will follow his way to democracy,” Yar Zar added. Myanmar began its emergence from nearly half a century of military rule in 2011, under a quasi-civilian government that has won international plaudits for reforms including the release of hundreds of political prisoners. Suu Kyi, who was freed from years of house arrest in 2010, has also been welcomed into parliament at the helm of her party