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Burma jails comedian for 45 years
Nov 22:
Published on 23 Nov. 2008 12:30 AM IST
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Secret courts in Burma have sentenced a popular comedian and a hip-hop star to hefty jail terms as the military regime of that country continues to crack down on dissidents. Comedian Zargana, detained in June for criticising the government's slow response to Cyclone Nargis in interviews with foreign news groups, was sentenced to 45 years in jail. A court inside Rangoon's notorious Insein prison convicted Zargana, an outspoken satirist who has already been jailed four times, of violating the Electronics Act. Rap star Zayar Thaw, 27, a member of the band ACID, was given a six-year sentence for belonging to a political youth group that was formed during the anti-government uprising which the army brutally stamped out last year, reports The Independent. Over 100 activists, including Buddhist monks, students and members of the opposition National League for Democracy have been convicted in the past two weeks and dispatched to squalid jails. None of this has been reported in the country's state-controlled and heavily censored media. Amnesty International says the junta holds more than 2,100 political prisoners, a sharp rise from nearly 1,200 in June last year, before the pro-democracy demonstrations.

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