Name: Nay Phone Latt
Arrested: since 29 Jan 08
Blog: Nay Phone Latt (Burmese)
Campaign: Free Nay Phone Latt
Blogger for Freedom: Tag “Nay Phone Latt”
Committee to Protect Bloggers: Burmese Blogger Arrested
Global Voices Advocacy: Latt’s arrest
The blogger Nay Phone Latt is a young businessman named Nay Myo Latt who is the owner of three internet cafes in different suburbs of Rangoon ((The Irrawady » Burmese Regime strikes at Bloggers)). On his blog he mostly posted novel-style expressions about music and Burmese youth culture, calling himself a “youth who is crazy about the arts”. Nay Phone Latt was arrested on January 29, 2008 in one of his internet cafes after being observed for about a year’s time. Meanwhile, police also raided two houses were Nay Phone Latt used to live as well as his aunt’s residence ((Burmanet News » Blogger arrested by police: Friends)).
Though Nay Phone Latt mostly wrote about youth culture in Burma on his blog, political statements on nayphonelatt.net seem to have been his undoing. However, Latt is also a member of the leading oppositional party, Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, which reported Latt and a fellow party member being charged with serious crimes against internet restriction.
On February 7, Nay Phone Latt was transfered to Insein prison near Rangoon ((Reporters without Borders » Journalist U Win Tin and blogger Nay Phone Latt transfered to Insein prison)), where he is kept in very bad conditions, reportedly in a cell usually dedicated to prisoners awaiting their execution. Nay Phone Latt has been charged with both “threatening state security” and a TV and video law imposing government control over all political content, carrying up to 15 years in prison. It is reported that Latt was arrested for possessing a banned video of a Thee Lay Thee performance, described as a comedy show making fun of the Burmese government ((Global Voices Advocacy » Latt’s arrest and blogger opposition th the new constitution)). His trial was scheduled to start on March 6.
Two months after his arrest, on March 29, Nay Phone Latt was reported to do relatively well in prison. ((Burmese Bloggers without Borders » We will never forget you, Nay Phone Latt))
A fellow blogger said he believes the authorities had targeted bloggers and confirmed that fellow bloggers were on the run in fear of arrests ((Mizzima News » Burmese bloggers hide from police)). Before Latt’s arrest, Burmese internet users had reported a rise of internet monitoring by the government ((Committee to Protect Bloggers » Urgent message from Burmese blogger)).
In 2007’s “Saffron” or “Golden” revolution in Burma, bloggers had a main influence on spreading news about the demonstrations and the Junta’s crackdown on the peaceful protesters. While thousands of people were arrested during the uprise, only one blogger could be confirmed to have been in detention. Though, the Burmese regime soon targeted the bloggers, which made publishing articles on the internet even more dangerous. Due to that threat, some Burmese bloggers have reportedly fled or gone underground to hide from the police.