Dissident Myanmar comedian, monk sentenced to decades in prison

November 21st, 2008 - 9:12 pm ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Nov 21 (DPA) A popular Myanmar comedian known for his criticism and satire of the country’s military junta was sentenced Friday to 45 years in prison in a closed-door court session in Yangon, an opposition spokesman said.Zarganar, who had provided food and water to monks involved in anti-government demonstrations in September 2007, was convicted under military-ruled Myanmar’s Electronics Act, which requires permits for electronic equipment, said U Nyan Win, spokesman for the National League for Democracy (NLD), the pro-democracy party led my Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Another prominent dissident, Ashin Gambira - a monk who was one of the leaders of the 2007 protests, which were brutally suppressed by the military junta - also was sentenced Friday to 55 and a half years in prison under various charges, his relatives said.

He had previously been sentenced to 12 and a half years, bringing his total sentence to 68 years.

Both dissidents were sentenced at court sessions at Insein Prison, where many of the country’s political prisoners are detained.

The jail terms were the latest in a series of long sentences handed down against dissidents who participated in the anti-government protests of August and September 2007.

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