(AFP) – Nov 10, 2008
YANGON (AFP) — A popular Myanmar blogger arrested after massive anti-junta protests last year has been jailed for 20 years at Yangon's notorious Insein Prison, an opposition spokesman said Tuesday.
Nay Phone Latt, 28, a former member of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition party, was sentenced on Monday along with five other activists and members of the National League for Democracy (NLD).
"Nay Phone Latt was once an NLD youth member, but he left the party when he was arrested. He was sentenced to twenty years imprisonment," NLD spokesman Nyan Win told AFP.
"The authorities are punishing the activists by investigating the cases hurriedly. There was not enough time for a defence with lawyers."
Nyan Win said the poet Saw Wai was sentenced to two years in prison for defaming the state in a poem that referred to junta head Than Shwe. He did not have any information on the four NLD members sentenced Monday.
Nay Phone Latt's blog was written in the Myanmar language and in the style of a novel. He used it as a forum to discuss the difficulties of daily life, such as the regular power outages and the rising cost of living.
The blog was banned by Myanmar's military regime, and Nay Phone Latt was arrested in January this year during a round-up of activists linked to the massive anti-junta protests in September 2007.
About 200 NLD members and activists were arrested during and after the September protests, when up to 100,000 people spilled onto Yangon's streets.
The United Nations has said that at least 31 people were killed and 74 remain missing after the military finally cracked down on the movement.
The military was outraged by the bloggers during the September protests, when they provided running accounts of state violence.
The junta cut off the nation's Internet links at the height of the protests, choking off the flow of information about the crackdown.
Myanmar's regime exerts tight controls over the Internet, banning access to news sites and even to web-based e-mail services such as Yahoo or Hotmail.
Aung San Suu Kyi's NLD won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta never allowed the party to take office. Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.
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