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Two newspaper journalists arrested, their offices searched, material seized

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Two journalists from the Rangoon-based weekly publication "Myanmar Nation" were arrested on 15 February 2008. Local authorities from Thingangyun Township, Rangoon, came to the publication's offices and took away chief editor Thet Zin and manager Sein Win Maung.

"At about 5:00 p.m. on Friday, local authorities came and searched our office. They then took away Ko Thet Zin and Manager U Sein Win Maung at about 9:00 p.m. for interrogation. They are now in Thingangyun police lockup," a source told Mizzima.

The reason for their detention has not been made known. However, during their search, the officers found and seized a copy of the Burmese translation of United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights Paulo Sergio Pinheiro's Burma report, a video disk of the September 2007 demonstrations led by monks and a copy of the book by Shan ethnic leader Shwe Ohn, entitled "Let's Build an Inseparable Union".

On the morning of 18 February, six policemen from Thingangyun police station returned to the publication's office and searched it for about three hours, seizing data from the chief editor's office computer.

Khin Swe Myint, spouse of Thet Zin, confirmed her husband's arrest and said the journalists were being interrogated at the Township police station.

"I don't know why they were taken away from their office. I asked the policemen who came and searched the office this morning again. They only said that they came under instruction from higher authorities and they will submit their report following the search. They just said they would let me know about the case later," she told Mizzima.

"I can't imagine why they were taken away from their office. This journal is published officially after clearance from the Censorship Board. They didn't do anything that violates the rule of law. I asked Ko Thet Zin too. He also has no idea why he was being interrogated," she added.

The Burma Media Association called for the immediate release of Thet Zin and Sein Win Maung, as well as author Lay Lay Mun (alias Phu Ngong) of "Teenage Magazine", blogger and author Nay Phone Latt, and poets Min Han, Nay Htet Naing and Ko Ko Maung (alias Zaw Lu Sein), who were also arrested in 2008.

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