Burma comic jailed for 45 years

A popular comedian active in Burma's democracy movement has been sentenced to 45 years in jail by a Burmese court.

Zarganar was found to have violated the Electronics Act, which regulates electronic communications.

He is the latest in a string of opposition activists to be jailed by the military government.

He was detained earlier this year for criticising the government's slow response to Cyclone Nargis in interviews with foreign news groups.

Zarganar led a group of entertainers who organised private aid deliveries to cyclone victims.

More than 80 activists have been sentenced over the past two weeks in a judicial crackdown across the spectrum of Burma's pro-democracy movement.

Some people have been sentenced to terms as long as 65 years.

Many took part in protests against the ruling junta sparked by fuel and food price rises in August 2007.

Zarganar was arrested in June 2008 after organising aid runs to victims of Cyclone Nargis, which hit in May.

He had criticised the junta for obstructing foreign efforts to supply aid to victims.

This wave of trials has been condemned by the UN and rights groups, as well as the United States and European countries.

BBC News