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Detained blogger Nay Phone Latt granted reduced prison term

(Mizzima/IFEX) - On 20 February 2009, a court in Rangoon reduced the prison term of blogger Nay Phone Latt by eight and a half years, leaving him to serve 12 years. The news was relayed to Mizzima by Aye Aye Than, the blogger's mother.

Nay Phone Latt, who was arrested on 29 January 2008, was sentenced to a total of 20 and a half years on various counts of violating the Electronic and Video Act.

Nay Phone Latt is the fourth political prisoner in Burma to have his sentence reduced since last week, when the UN's human rights envoy paid a visit to the country. Other political prisoners to benefit from a reduced term include popular comedian Zargarnar, Kay Thi Aung and Wai Myo Htoo.

Meanwhile, state television and radio reported on 20 February that Burmese authorities have announced the release of 6313 prisoners on 28 February. The announcement, however, did not mention whether political prisoners would be included among those released. Burma's ruling junta has consistently denied the presence of political prisoners in the country.

The announcement came a day after UN human rights envoy Tomas Ojea Quintana wound up a six-day visit to Burma. A journalist in Rangoon told Mizzima, "It could be a move by the ruling junta to save face after Quintana visited the country." But he added that it was unlikely that political prisoners would be included among those freed. "Most of those released will probably be criminals and robbers," he said.

Updates the Nay Phone Latt case: http://www.ifex.org/alrtlrtlrtlrts8/content/view/full/100468/

For further information on the Zargana case, see: http://www.ifex.org/alrtlrtlrtlrts8/content/view/full/100937/

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