It has been a frantic week in Burma’s closed courts. At least 60 people have in the past few days been sentenced for their roles in last year’s mass protests, including high-profile activists, monks, a blogger and a poet.
The blogger, Nay Phone Latt, was given a sentence of 20 years and six months for having defaced images of national leaders, writings and cartoons in his email inbox, and for having had contact with other people involved in the protests.
The young man’s mother cried when she heard the verdict. She had been told to expect a sentence of around 10 years, but on just one charge under a new hold-all Internet law he was given 15.
The poet, Saw Wai, was sentenced to two years on a much more old-fashioned charge of upsetting public tranquility, which can be thrown at just about anyone for anything. He got it for writing a concealed anti-dictator message into a Valentine’s Day poem.
It wasn’t very well concealed. But well enough that the censors missed it and the magazine went to print before he was found out.