Cyclone relief coordinator sentenced to 17 years

Mar 12, 2009 (DVB), A man who organised rescue efforts via the internet for Cyclone Nargis victims has been sentenced to 17 years in jail.

Min Thein Tun (also known as Thiha) was charged under the Electronics Act, Unlawful Associations Act and Immigration Act. The sentence was passed on 11 March in a court inside Insein prison.

He had carried out the efforts whilst working legally in Malaysia, but was arrested on his return to Burma last year, his mother Thein Thein said.

"On 11 July 2008 [the police] came to my house and searched it," she said. "They found nothing.

They searched the house a second time and told Thein Thein that her son had been arrested.

"When I asked [Min Thein Tun] what had happened, he said he was not involved in politics, just social work and support," she said.

Six members of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions are currently on trial following their arrest last year for collecting and burying corpses in the aftermath of Cyclone Nargis. They are defending allegations of sedition and Unlawful Associations Act.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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