Jailed DVB reporter in isolation cell

A young DVB reporter recently sentenced to eight years in prison has been placed in solitary confinement in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison.

A source close to the prison said that it was Sithu Zeya’s lack of understanding about prison customs that meant he didn’t stand to attention when the institution’s director showed up.

The director, Win Naing, had visited his block after hearing reports that political prisoners, including Sithu Zeya, were assaulted by other inmates, and some left with serious injuries.

The 21-year-old was convicted in December last year by a Rangoon township court of illegal border crossing and holding ties to an unlawful organisation. He is facing a further charge under the Electronics Act, which can result in up to 20 years in prison.

He had been arrested after photographing the damage caused by the Rangoon bombings on 15 April, which left nine dead.

Sithu’s father, Maung Maung Zeya, also a DVB reporter, was arrested a day after his son and is still awaiting a verdict, but from a high-level court which could carry a more severe sentence.

Burma was last month ranked fourth in a list of global countries that imprison journalists. Nearly 20 DVB journalists are currently behind bars.

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