Burma blogger jailed for 20 years

A Burmese blogger has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for posting a cartoon of the military leader Than Shwe.

Nay Phone Latt, 28, was sentenced by a court in Rangoon’s Insein prison, said his mother, Aye Than.

Nay Phone Latt’s colleague Thin July Kyaw was sentenced to two years imprisonment, Aye Than reported.

Another dissident, Saw Wai, was sentenced to two years in jail for publishing a poem mocking Than Shwe in the weekly Love Journal.

The first words of each line of the Burmese language poem spelled out the message “Senior General Than Shwe is foolish with power”.

Nay Phone Latt was arrested in January; the sentence delivered on Monday included 15 years for offences under the Electronics Act, two years for “creating public alarm” and three and a half years for offences under the Video Act, his mother said.

One of his offences was apparently the possession of a banned video.

His blogs during the September 2007 uprising provided invaluable information about events within the locked-down country.

Aye Than said she was not allowed to attend the trial and Nay Phone Latt was not represented by his defence lawyer, Aung Thein, who began serving a four-month prison sentence for contempt of court last Friday.

“My son is a computer expert and he has not violated any criminal law. It is very unfair that he was given 15 years’ imprisonment under the Electronics Law for a crime he did not commit,” said Aye Than.

A spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy party, Nyan Win, described Nay Phone Latt, a former party member, as “a young and intelligent blogger and computer expert.”

More…

– Just so no one forgets:   The junta came to power in 1988 after crushing a nationwide pro-democracy uprising, killing as many as 3,000 people. It organised multiparty elections in 1990 but refused to honour the results after Suu Kyi’s party won overwhelmingly.

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