Friday, February 20, 2009

Popular Burmese Blogger’s Jail Term Reduced - Nay Pone Latt

The Irrawaddy News

The jailed Burmese blogger Nay Pone Latt has had his prison sentence cut from 20 years and six months to 12 years on appeal, his lawyer said on Friday.

Nay Pone Latt, who was well known for his Internet blogs, was originally sentenced to a total of 20 years and six months on three separate charges. An appeals court cut one 15 year sentence to seven years and a second sentence of three and a half years to three years. A third sentence of two years was left untouched.

One of his alleged offences was to store a cartoon depicting junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe in his email.

Nay Phone Latt’s lawyer, Khin Htay Kywe, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that she had learnt today that a two-month appeal had resulted in the reduction of two of the prison terms, which had been imposed by a special court in Rangoon’s Insein Prison.

After sentencing, Nay Phone Latt was transferred late last year to distant Pa-an Prison in Karen State.

Nay Phone Latt was the latest of several political prisoners whose sentences have been recently reduced. The popular comedian Zarganar had his 59 year sentence reduced to 24 years.

Observers in Rangoon said it was thought the reduction of some of the severest prison sentences was connected with the six-day visit to Burma by UN Human Rights Rapporteur Tomas Ojea, which ended on Thursday.

“The human rights situation in Myanmar [Burma] is still challenging,” he told a press conference at Rangoon Airport before leaving. “It’s difficult to affirm that the human rights situation has improved.”

During his visit, Quintana had talks with Burma’s Minister of Home Affairs, Maj-Gen Maung Oo, and Chief Justice Aung Toe.

Burma has an estimated 2,100 political prisoners, many of them sentenced to long terms of imprisonment for their part in the September 2007 uprising.

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