NLD member jailed after photographing polling stations

Aug 28, 2008 (DVB), A National League for Democracy member who was arrested for taking photographs of polling stations during the May referendum has been given a three-year jail term based on evidence his lawyer says was obtained through torture.

Ko Aung Aung, an NLD member from Rangoon's Dagon township, was sentenced today by Hmawbi township court.

Although Ko Aung Aung was originally arrested for taking photographs of polling stations, the sentence was passed on the basis of charges of illegal border crossing and breaking section 13/1 of the immigration law, defence lawyer U Aung Thein said.

Aung Thein said that Ko Aung Aung had been tortured during interrogation and forced to sign a confession under duress, and claimed there was no evidence against him to back up the charges.

"According to his statement, he went to the Myawaddy-Mae Sot area [on the Thai-Burma border] in January 2008 to attend video training and met with some reporters and used video cameras and equipment provided by them to take the pictures," Aung Thein said.

"They do not have any evidence to support the claim that he did this kind of thing. He was punished because he 'confessed'," he said.

"He has testified in court that he was tortured in order to get this confession."

U Aung Thein said he plans to appeal the verdict.

Separately, lawyers for Ma Su Su Nwe, who is being held on charges of putting up anti-government posters and staging protests demanding the reduction of commodity and fuel prices, said she did not attend her court appointment today in protest at human rights abuses against her.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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