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Military authorities renew interrogations of detained blogger

(Mizzima/IFEX) - The Burmese military junta authorities are once again questioning blogger Ko Nay Phone Latt, who has been in custody for about five months.

He was interrogated twice about his blog without being produced in court, soon after Cyclone Nargis lashed Burma and once more on 15 June 2008.

"He was interrogated inside the prison. He said he was interrogated twice. He was asked about his blog and if he had a pseudonym. They said that some writers post their articles and news under pseudonyms while some use their own names such as Sayama [a former lecturer], May Nyein and Dr. Lunn Swe. They asked him if they knew them," Daw Aye Than, the blogger's mother who visited him in prison on 16 June, told Mizzima.

"It's strange that he was being questioned again and again. I think they are trying to frame him and charge him in court with a crime he didn't commit. As far as I know, he's never sent any news outside [the prison]," she added.

Ko Nay Phone Latt was arrested on 29 January and the authorities lodged a case against him under section 32(b) of the Video Act.

His defence counsel, U Aung Thein, submitted an application to the Insein prison authorities to get power of attorney from his client and sought permission to meet him.

Mizzima has learnt that a source in the Ministry of Home Affairs confirmed that Ko Nay Phone Latt was questioned again, apparently because the authorities were looking for information regarding anonymous blogs posted from Burma.

A special meeting of Special Branch police officers was held recently in Rangoon and crackdowns against pro-democracy activists followed soon after.

"We have to submit an application to the prison authorities. We never got a chance to meet him. We applied after seeing the statement posted on the notice board suggesting he would be permitted to meet his counsel. I will represent him in court and meet him when it is permitted - which is usually on working days," U Aung Thein said.

"He was charged under the Video Act, section 32(b). I think the authorities are interrogating him only for his blog. But he has not been produced in court. It seems the authorities are trying to frame him in another case as their first case under section 32(b) of the Video Act does not hold much water. He was first charged under this section just to keep him in custody. The authorities could find only a video disc of 'Ahnyeint' [a variety dance show] performed in Singapore when he was taken away from his home", Daw Aye Than added.

Updates the Ko Nay Phone Latt case:

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