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DVB reporter Ngwe Soe Lin sentenced to 13 years

January 28, 2010

Thursday, 28 January 2010 21:43 Phanida

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Reporter Ngwe Soe Lin of the Norway-based opposition radio station Democratic Voice of Burma was sentenced to 13 years imprisonment yesterday by the Rangoon Western District Court sitting inside Insein prison, close associates said.

According to confidants, Ngwe Soe Lin (28), who lives in Rangoon’s South Dagon Township, was charged under the Electronic and Immigration Emergency Provisions Acts, receiving associated terms of ten and three years imprisonment, respectively.

“Ngwe Soe Lin was yesterday given ten years in prison under the Electronic Act and another three years under the Immigration Act’s section 13(1),” his sister-in-law, Aye Mee San, told Mizzima.

Aung Thein, a legal counsel of the accused, said, “We heard that he was interrogated and sentenced to imprisonment yesterday at about 4 p.m. with cases charged under section 33(a) of the Electronic Act and section 13(1) of the Immigration Emergency Provisions Act. He was given a total prison term of 13 years.”

Ngwe Soe Lin, a DVB video reporter, was honored with the the Rory Peck Award for his work in documenting orphan victims of Cyclone Nargis, which struck Burma in the first week of May 2008. The London-based Rory Peck Trust seeks recipients from across the world based on bravery in covering news. The award is named after British reporter Rory Peck, who was killed by a gunman while reporting from Moscow, Russia, in October 1993. Friends and his wife established the trust in 1995.

Giving a long term prison sentence is unjust, DVB (Thai) Bureau Chief Toe Zaw Latt iterated.

“This is an unjust case. I think they would like to give a clear message to other reporters that if they do same, they will be given similar punishment. However, we will expose what’s going on in Burma,” he told Mizzima.

Ngwe Soe Lin was arrested on the 26th of June last year as he was leaving an internet cafe in Kyaukmyaung, Tamwe Township.

Aye Mee San told Mizzima that Tamwe Township Special Branch (SB) police, ward level Peace and Development Council (PDC) members as well as a police major came to their home and seized a video camera three days later on the 29th.

She added that an appeal would be filed against the verdict.

Ngwe Soe Lin was arrested along with NLD Youth member Ngaing Ngan Lin, but the latter was later released on August 29th, noted Aung Thein. After being interrogated for over two months Ngaing Ngan Lin was sent to Insein prison and allowed to see family members only after three-and-a-half months. He is suffering from beriberi disease and taking neurotropic drugs, according to his sister-in-law.

Aung Tun Myint, elder brother of Ngwe Soe Lin, was also arrested for allegedly taking photographs of a polling booth in Rangoon’s Hmawbi Township during the 2008 constitutional referendum. He was given three years imprisonment, which he is currently serving in western Burma’s Arakan state.

According to the Burma Media Association (BMA), at least 14 Burmese journalists were arrested and sentenced in 2009 after the 2007 September Saffron Revolution, in which monks chanted a sutra of ‘loving kindness’ in protest against the junta.

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