An internet blogger and a writer who disguised an attack on Burma's dictator in the form of a love poem were among dozens of activists sentenced to draconian jail terms as the junta ordered a fresh crackdown on dissidents.
Nay Myo Kyaw who wrote blogs under the name Nay Phone Latt, was sentenced to 20 years and 6 months in jail by a court in Rangoon.
The poet, Saw Wai, received a two-year sentence for an eight-line Valentine's Day verse published in a popular magazine. Saw Wai's poem, entitled 14th February, was ostensibly a Valentine's Day verse but the first word of each line, however, spelt out a
message about the leader of the country's military government: Power Crazy Senior General Than Shwe.
Aung Thein, the lawyer for the men, was given four months in prison for contempt of court during his defence.
More than a dozen people arrested during the protests last year against the ruling junta were handed harsh prison terms yesterday. Altogether 23 activists were sentenced today at Insein prison. They were sentenced to 65 years each, a family member
of one jailed activist said
Other sources said that 14 people from the Generation 88 Students group, who spearheaded the revolt against Burma's military rulers in 1988, were jailed for 65 years. Ten rank-and-file members of a provincial branch of the opposition National League for
Democracy party were given sentences ranging from 8 to 24 years.
The dissidents will join more than 2,000 political prisoners in Burma's jails, half of whom have been incarcerated since the Saffron Revolution last year, when tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and political activists took to the streets in a failed
uprising against the military regime.