Tuesday, 11 November 2008
Court sentenced blogger for over 20 years, poet for two years - Nay Phone Latt
by Than Htike Oo
Monday, 10 November 2008 23:37
Chiang Mai – A court in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison on Monday has sentenced a popular Blogger Nay Phone Latt to over 20 years in prison.
Nay Phone Latt, who was arrested on 29 January, on Monday was sentenced by the Insein prison court on three counts including charges under section 505 (b) of the Penal Code - crime against public tranquillity.
The Blogger's mother Aye Aye Than, told Mizzima that her son was sentenced to two years under section 505(b) of the Penal Code, three and half years under sections 32(b)/36 of the Video Law and 15 years under section 33(a)/38 of the Electronic Law.
"We were waiting outside during the court proceedings and after the court session we asked the judge about the quantum of punishment. The judge and prosecutor informed us regarding the judgement," she said.
The 28-years-old, Nay Phone Latt, a famous blogger, is also a youth member of Burma's main opposition party - National League for Democracy. He runs internet cafés in several townships in Rangoon including "The Explorer" in Pabedan Township, and "Heaven" in Thingangyun Township.
His mother Aye Aye Than said that she had no idea why they had sentenced her son to such a long term in prison.
(JEG's: someone ought to tell her...)
"He is the first ever blogger to be arrested in Burma. I have no idea why they punished my son with such a harsh judgement. Blogging is perhaps a very serious crime in the opinion of the authorities," his mother said.
Meanwhile, Nay Phone Latt's defense counsel, Aung Thein, was also sentenced to four months prison-term in absentia on November 7, for a charge of contempt of the court.
Similarly, poet Saw Wei was also sentenced to two years in prison on Monday with charges of 'inducing crime against public tranquillity'.
He was arrested in February, after his poem entitled 'February 14' was published in the Weekly 'Ah Chit' (love) Journal. In his Burmese poem, putting together of the first words of all the lines spells out 'Power Crazy Snr. Gen.Than Shwe', which provokes the authorities and he was immediately arrested.
"I am worried about his health. I want to arrange proper medical treatment outside the prison for him, where X-ray facility would be available in order to diagnose his back and waist pain. Currently, he cannot get these treatments inside the prison. He has to cover his body with a towel all the time. This morning too at the court, he could not sit for a long time and had to stand up frequently to ease his pain when speaking," Saw Wai's wife told Mizzima.
Soe Maung, the defense counsel of Saw Wai said, despite of the court's verdict, he will continue filing appeals for revision, as he thinks the trial were not free and fair enough.
"We will file an appeal against this judgment at all levels of the courts including an appeal for a revision case. We intend to do as much as the law and judicial proceedings permit us to, within the legal framework, until we reach the last stage. I am preparing for an appeal on my client's instruction," Soe Maung said.
Meanwhile, media watchdogs the Reporters Without Frontiers (RSF) and Burma Media Association (BMA) has slam the junta for its unfair trials on the two writers – Nay Phone Latt and Saw Wai – and the verdict to sentenced them.
The two organisations said, they are appalled by the combined sentence of 20 years and six months in prison that a special court in Insein prison passed on Nay Phone Latt and two years to poet Saw Wai.
"This shocking sentence is meant to terrify those who go online in an attempt to elude the dictatorship's ubiquitous control of news and information, and we call for his immediate release. Saw Wai, for his part, is being made to pay for his impertinence and courage as a committed poet," the two organisations said in a press statement.
The two media watchdogs also call on all bloggers and poets around the world to show their solidarity towards Nay Phone Latt and Saw Wai.
"There is an urgent need now for bloggers all over the world to demonstrate their solidarity with Nay Phone Latt by posing his photo on their blogs and by writing to Burmese embassies worldwide to request his release. Similarly, we call on poets to defend their fellow-poet, Saw Wai, who has been jailed just because of one poem," said the two organisations.
Young Burmese Blogger Sentenced to more than 20 Years in Jail
By SAW YAN NAING
The Irrawaddy News
A young Burmese blogger who was a major source of information for the outside world on the brutal regime crackdown on the September 2007 uprising was sentenced to 20 years and six months imprisonment on Monday.
Nay Phone Latt, 28, was sentenced by a court in Rangoon’s Insein Prison, according to his mother, Aye Than. He was convicted of contravening Public Offense Act 505 B by posting a cartoon depicting junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe on his blog site.
Nay Phone Latt’s colleague Thin July Kyaw was sentenced to two years imprisonment, Aye Than reported.
Another dissident who ridiculed the regime, Saw Wai, was sentenced to two years imprisonment for publishing a poem mocking Than Shwe in the weekly Love Journal, according to Rangoon sources. 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’s blogs during the September 2007 uprising provided invaluable information about events within the locked-down country.
Two Rangoon journalists, Htun Htun Thein and Khin Maung Aye, of the privately-owned weekly News Watch, were arrested on November 5 and are being detained in Insein Prison. The media rights organizations Reporters without Borders and Burma Media Association have demanded their immediate release.
The current regime crackdown is also aimed at silencing legal attempts to ensure fair trials for dissidents now appearing before judges in closed court sessions.
Two weeks ago, three defense lawyers, Nyi Nyi Htwe, Aung Thein and Khin Maung Shein were imprisoned for between four and six months for contempt of court after complaining of unfair treatment.
Four other defense lawyers, Kyaw Hoe, Maung Maung Latt, Myint Thaung and Khin Htay Kyew have been barred from representing their clients since November 5, according to Kyaw Hoe. The lawyers are representing several dissidents, including members of the 88 Generation Students group.
“I asked a prison authority why I was not allowed to appear in court,” said Kyaw Hoe. “He said there was no reason and that the order had come from higher officials.”
Members of the 88 Generation Students group were now appearing daily in court without their defense lawyers, Kyaw Hoe said.
Two lawyers, Myint Thaung and Khin Htay Kyi, who represent the prominent labor activist Su Su Nway, withdrew from court proceedings at the weekend, citing unfair treatment, according to the accused’s sister, Htay Htay Kyi.
Htay Htay Kyi said Su Su Nway would be sentenced on Tuesday. The winner of the 2006 John Humphrey Freedom Award was originally charged with “threatening the stability of the government,” under articles 124, 130 and 505 of the penal code, but new charges have now been added.
In a statement in Washington, the US State Department criticized the imprisonment of the four defense lawyers and urged the Burmese regime to drop all charges and release them.
Deputy Spokesman Robert Wood called on the junta to stop harassing and arresting citizens for peacefully practicing their internationally recognized human rights, to release all political prisoners, and to start a genuine dialogue with democratic forces and ethnic minority groups for democratic reform in Burma.
Monday, November 10, 2008