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Nay Phone Latt and Zarganar
Burma

Nay Phone Latt

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Nay Phone Latt

The owner of two Internet cafés in Rangoon, Nay Phone Latt was arrested on 29 January 2008 while in possession of a video banned by the military government. He kept a blog (http://www.nayphonelatt.net/) in which he described the difficulties that Burmese youth have to express themselves. It was also a very important source of information about the street demonstrations by Buddhist monks and young people in the autumn of 2007. The government is still cracking down hard on those who participated in or reported on this so-called Saffron Revolution.

Nay Phone Latt suffers from an eye ailment but the authorities in Insein prison are not letting him see a doctor.

Zarganar

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Zarganar

An outspoken critic of poverty, privileges and government corruption in his blog, he was arrested in September 2007 for supporting the peaceful demonstrations being staged by Buddhist monks.

Arrested again in June of this year on a charge of “disturbing public order” after talking to the BBC about the situation of the victims of the previous month’s Cyclone Nargis, he was sentenced to 45 years in prison by a special court inside Insein prison in November. He was given an additional 14-year prison sentence a few days later. On 16 February, the sentenced was reduced to 25 years in prison. Two journalists have also received long prison sentences for, like him, gathering information about the post-Nargis situation in the Irrawaddy delta.

Arrested for the first time during a severe crackdown on opposition activity in 1988, he had been forbidden since 2006 to embark on new artistic activities, including theatre and film.



Free them before 2020 and 2033!

Nay Phone Latt, a 28-year-old blogger and owner of two Rangoon Internet cafés, was sentenced to 20 years and six months in prison on 10 November 2008 after being caught with a film regarded as subversive by the military government. He is not due to be freed before 2028.

After being sentenced to 45 years in prison on 21 November 2008 for criticising the regime in his blog, which was widely read by Burmese in Burma and abroad, comedian Zarganar was given an additional 14-year sentence six days later for unspecified offences. He is not due to be freed until 2067.

Both of them are being held in remote prisons with very poor sanitary conditions far from Rangoon, where their families live.

These two bloggers have been the victims of sham trials staged by the military regime. The attention of the international community, including UN secretary-general Ban Ki-Moon’s special envoy Ibrahim Gambari, needs to be mobilised if they are to be released.



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