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Burmese journalist sentenced to two years for taking photos of Cyclone Nargis victims

Burmese journalist sentenced to two years for taking photos of Cyclone Nargis victims
Homeless and helpless: In this picture made available May 9, 2008, people rendered homeless by cyclone Nargis shelter from the rain in Bogalay township area one of the hardest hit regions in Burma May 3, 2008. According to the Burmese junta's figures, the Nargis cyclone which hit the country claimed 22,997 lives, left 42,119 missing and 1,403 injured as other sources claim the real death toll is closer to 100,000. Photo: EPA/STR

Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) and the Burma Media Association (BMA) have expressed outrage at the two-year sentence passed on Ein Khaing Oo, a 24-year-old journalist with the weekly Ecovision Journal, for taking photos of Cyclone Nargis victims. Ein Khaing Oo was arrested in Rangoon in June 2008 and convicted on November 14.

"This unjust sentence comes amid a wave of unprecedented sentences for journalists and activists," RSF/BMA said. "We appeal to Burma's military authorities to free Ein Khaing Oo, whose only crime was to cover the humanitarian disaster in the Irrawaddy delta."

According to Mizzima News, the sentence was handed down by a Rangoon court at the end of a trial held behind closed doors and with no defence lawyer. Ein Khaing Oo was accused of taking photos that could be used by foreign news media. Arrested on June 10 while covering a demonstration by Nargis victims outside a UN building in Rangoon, she has already spent five months in Insein prison.

Another journalist, Zaw Thet Htwe, and a blogger, Zarganar, are also being held for helping Nargis victims. Zarganar was arrested after giving an interview to a BBC television reporter. Verdicts are expected in their cases in the coming days.

The toll from Cyclone Nargis' passage across Burma in May was around 130,000 people dead or missing.

Date posted: November 15, 2008 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 411