Secret court may jail Burma comic Maung Thura for helping Cyclone Nargis victims
Burma's most popular comedian, Maung Thura who is well known as Zarganar faces 20 years in Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison for helping Cyclone Nargis victims in the Irrawaddy delta
The repressive and secretive junta released no details of the trial of Maung Thura, which took place in a closed court, deep inside the country’s most notorious prison.
His sister-in-law, Ma Hdway, said that the comedian, film director and social activist, better known by his stage name, Zarganar, was charged with five crimes, including unlawful association and creating public unrest.
Zarganar was arrested two months ago after leading more than 400 actors, directors, writers and young activists delivering aid to some of the remotest villages of the Irrawaddy delta, where more than 130,000 people are believed to have died in the powerful cyclone that tore across the area on May 2. The generals seem to have been particularly incensed by videos of the destruction filmed by the group and widely circulated in Burma by e-mail and DVD.
These gave the lie to the Government’s claim that the disaster was under control and added to anger at its refusal to allow foreign emergency workers into the delta.