New Delhi (Mizzima) - A special court sitting inside the notorious Insein prison on Wednesday handed down 17 years in prison to a humanitarian worker, who was arrested and detained for the past eight months.
Min Thein Tun a.k.a Thihah, arrested in July 2008 while distributing relief materials to victims of Cyclone Nargis in the Irrawaddy delta, was charged by the special court on three counts including the Immigration Act, and communicating with illegal associations and was sentenced to 17 years, a relative said.
“The court in Insein prison sentenced him to 17 years under the Electronic Act, Immigration Act and communicating with illegal associations,” the relative, who wished not to be named, told Mizzima.
Min Thein Tun, a resident of Rangoon’s North Okklapa Township, in 2005 left for Malaysia with a legal passport in search of a job. But when Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma’s coastal regions, particularly the Irrawaddy delta, he flashed an appeal for donation on his blogspot for victims of the cyclone.
With some generous donations he recieved, he reportedly came back to Burma and began distributing aid to victims in Bogale, Laputta, and Dedaye Townships in the Irrawaddy delta. But on his third trip to the delta in July 2008 he was arrested by authorities and detained.
Since his arrest, his blogspot www.thiha.blogspot.com has been inaccessible.
Sources said on July 11, authorities raided and searched his residence. Reportedly he was detained for two months at the Aung Thapyay interrogation camp before being taken to Insein jail in Rangoon.
His retired parents could not afford to hire a defence counsel for him and he was left without any lawyer representing him in court.