Burmese photographjournalist Sithu Zeya, who was sentenced last year to 8 years in prison for violating Burma’s immigration laws and “Unlawful Associations Act,” was sentenced yesterday to an additional 10 years for violating the country’s “Electronics Act,” the Burmese magazine-in-exile Irrawaddy has reported.
Zeya was originally sentenced for photographing the aftermath of the April 15, 2010 bomb blast in Rangoon that reportedly killed 10 people and injured 70 others. Under interrogation after his arrest, he reportedly admitted to attending a media training session in Thailand, and to having a relationship with an official from the Norway-based exile media organization, Democratic Voice of Burma, according to Irrawaddy, which is based in Thailand.
Irrawaddy does not give details about what Zeya did that was allegedly in violation of the country’s “Electronics Act,” but Mizzima, another news organization operated by Burmese exiles in India, says Burma’s military regime uses the law “to punish pro-democracy opposition members who disseminate information by electronic communication.”
Mizzima also reports that Zeya’s family had told exile media that he was tortured during his initial interrogation. The Committee to Protect Journalists says Zeya confessed under torture that his father led a team of journalists inside Burma for the Democratic Voice of Burma. Zeya’s father was subsequently arrested and sentenced to 13 years in jail.
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