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"Missing" blogger reportedly in detention, facing charges and possible imprisonment

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Police in Rangoon have reportedly charged blogger Nay Phone Latt, previously thought to be missing and now believed to be in detention, under an article of the Emergency Provision Act that could land him up to seven years of imprisonment.

According to a close friend of the blogger, who wished not to be named, Nay Phone Latt, age 28, who went missing on 29 January 2008, was charged on 3 February under Article 5 (J) of the Emergency Provision Act, at the Dagon Police station in Rangoon. "We know of the charges through police officer Soe Thein, who was among those who arrested him," the friend said.

The Burmese military junta has widely used Article 5 (J) as a tool for suppressing dissidents and political activists.

Although Nay Phone Latt is reportedly charged and being detained by the Ministry of Home Affairs, no date has been set for a trial. Family and friends told Mizzima they are preparing to confront the charges through whatever legal avenues are available to them once the trial begins.

"We are still waiting and we will wait for about a month, and if necessary we will seek legal assistance from lawyers," a family member told Mizzima.

Meanwhile, a close friend his family said that, on 7 February, the police returned the vehicle that Nay Phone Latt was driving when he was reportedly arrested.

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