Zarganar and imprisoned cyclone helpers in poor health

Apr 24, 2009 (DVB), Renowned comedian Zarganar, who was sentenced last year to 35 years in prison for speaking to foreign media following cyclone Nargis, is in poor health, said a source close to his family.

The comedian, who was initially sentenced to 59 years after giving reports of the post-cyclone humanitarian situation in Irrawaddy delta, is suffering from a swollen liver and jaundice.

In December 2008 he was transferred to the remote Myitkyina prison in Kachin state, in the country’s far north. On 16 April it is believed he lost consciousness for three hours.

His family has requested the authorities the permission to allow him to receive proper medical treatments.

Meanwhile, the family of Weekly Eleven journal editor, Kyaw Kyaw Thant, who was sentenced last year to two years imprisonment with hard labour after collecting news and assisting victims of the cyclone, also report he is in poor health.

Despite reporting chest pains, the authorities are still refusing to give his family permission to take him to a specialist.

In separate news, three female members of opposition party National League for Democracy youth wing, sentenced after carrying out rescue efforts for cyclone victims, were transferred to remote prisons far from their families.

Yin Yin Waing (also known as Wai), Tin Tin Cho and Nemo Hlaing were transferred from Rangoon Insein jail on 22 April.

Yin Yin Waing was sent to Shwebo jail in Sagaing division, Tin Tin Cho to Lashio jail in northern Shan State and Nemo Hlaing to Thayet jail in Magwe division.

They were charged under the Unlawful Association Act and sentenced to three years each on 23 March.

A family member of Yin Yin Waing said they would continue to visit them despite difficulties regarding travel.

"Although we could see them any time at our convenience here [in Rangoon], it would be a bit difficult for us to go there,' he said.

"But we will have to go there by any means. They have transferred them but we have to go and see them for their morale and health."

Yin Yin Waing has been suffering from gastric diseases and headache. Her family has been sending medicine every week, the relative said.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet and Thurein Soe

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