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Burma 25 August 2005

Cartoonist Chit Swe freed on completing sentence

Cartoonist Chit Swe, who is also an opposition National League for Democracy activist, was released on completing a one-month prison sentence on 23 August. He was arrested during a meeting at his home on 12 July and was given the one-month sentence (together with a suspended sentence of six months in prison) by a Rangoon court on 3 August. He was convicted of "defying the orders of the authorities" under a state of emergency law often used against government opponents.


Month-long jail sentence for cartoonist Chit Swe condemned

Reporters Without Borders and the Cartoonists Rights Network today condemned a month-long prison sentence passed on cartoonist Chit Swe. The two organisations called on cartoonists around the world to show solidarity with him by reproducing some of his drawings available online at and

Chit Swe, 65, an activist for the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) headed by Aung San Suu Kyi, was also given a six-month suspended prison sentence by the same Rangoon court.

His work regularly appears in economic publications such as Myanma Dhana. He also runs the NLD’s branch in Thanlyin, near Rangoon, and was arrested at a 12 July meeting at his house.

He was found guilty at a hasty trial on 3 August of defying the orders of the authorities under an old emergency law often used to crack down on the opposition.

Chit Swe denied the charge. His lawyer Nyan Win said he had not broken the law since the meeting was simply a discussion between colleagues. He ridiculed the accusations, made by Thanlyin mayor Tin Htay. The cartoonist, who is being held at Rangoon’s Insein prison, has heart problems and chronic bronchitis.


-  If the price of newsprint goes up ... Will what we get paid for our cartoons, articles, poems and paintings go up too?
-  What an idea! They will go down. So I can carry on surviving! Ohh!!


-  The way my grand-parents and I became well-known is very different.
-  In what way?
-  They became universally well-known for getting rich. I became famous for squandering their riches and thereafter living in poverty.

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