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Police arrest dissident blogger at Rangoon Internet café; poet moved to notorious Insein prison

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Writer and blogger Nay Phone Latt (a.k.a. Nay Bone Latt) was picked up by police at an Internet café in the Thingan Kyun Township of Rangoon, the former capital of Burma, on the morning of 29 January 2008, friends told Mizzima. The reason for his detention is not yet clear. In addition to being a blogger and a writer, Nay Phone Latt works for a private business company. "I am a youth who is crazy about the arts", he wrote as a self introduction in one of his blogs.

Nay Phone Latt had a blog site, , where he posted writings about the thinking of Burmese youth.

Police also searched houses in Thingyankyun and Thuwanna, where he used to live, on the morning of 29 January at about 10:00 a.m. (local time), according to a friend. The blogger's aunt's residence was also raided by police.

Internet users in Burma told Mizzima that over the last few weeks authorities have increasingly monitored online activities.

According to Dr. Lun Swe, who is both a medical doctor and a blogger living in exile in Thailand, "We do not know yet the details of his arrest; the main possibility is that the SPDC is alarmed by bloggers, including Nay Bone Latt; the authorities have been worried about their activities since the September Saffron revolution." The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is the official name for the military regime ruling Burma.

The arrest has alarmed Burma's bloggers. Another blogger said he believes the authorities have targeted bloggers. Internet users in Rangoon said that the authorities have stepped up surveillance in recent weeks of Internet users and asked Internet café owners to maintain strict records of users.

Blogging, which is popular among Burmese youth, has become a dangerous pastime in the country. The authorities' stranglehold on the flow of information remains as tight as ever and there is zero tolerance of critical writing.

During the September protests, Burmese blogger Thar Phyu, who has a blogsite, , was arrested and briefly detained for posting pictures of monks and people demonstrating on the streets.

In a separate development, the authorities transferred poet Saya Saw Wai, who was arrested on 22 January for writing a Valentines' day poem that contains a hidden message - "Power Crazy Than Shwe" - to the notorious Insein prison on 26 January, family members said. Than Shwe is a senior general in the ruling military junta.

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