Court hands down lengthy sentences for writersPosted Dec 17 2008
Two Myanmar writers have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms by a special court in Insein prison, according to Reporters Without Borders.
Judge Daw Soe sentenced blogger Nay Phone Latt to a total of 20 years and six months in prison: two for violating an article of the Criminal Code; three years and six months for violating an article of the Video Act and 15 years for violating an article of the Electronic Act, RWB reports. Nay Phone Latt attracted the attention of authorities for keeping a blog in which he describes the difficulty young Myanmar citizens have expressing themselves freely. He was arrested Jan. 29, and was found to be in possession of a video banned by the military government at the time.
The judge also sentenced poet Saw Wai to two years in prison for a poem he published in the Achit Journal on Jan. 21 that subtly defamed the general of Myanmar’s ruling military junta, RWB reports. When read vertically, the first words of each line of the romantic poem formed the phrase, A power crazy senior general Than Shwe. Saw Wai was arrested the day after the poem’s publication.
Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association are calling for bloggers and poets around the world to express their solidarity by posting photos of the men on blogs and defending them to the public.