Comedian sentenced to 45 years

Times Wire Reports

Myanmar’s courts continued a crackdown on activists, handing out a 45-year prison sentence to a comedian who went to the Irrawaddy River delta to help cyclone victims and criticized the military government’s slow relief response.

Comedian and activist Zarganar, whose birth name is Maung Thura, joined dozens of people who have received sentences this month of two to 65 years. Many of the trials were held in closed sessions, sometimes without defense lawyers or family present.

Zarganar joined activists in delivering relief supplies after the May cyclone, which killed at least 85,000 people. He was arrested in June after criticizing the government’s response in interviews with foreign news outlets.