Maung Maung Zeya (Thargyi Zeya)

Beats Covered:
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Maung Maung Zeya, an undercover reporter with the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), was taken into custody two days after his son and fellow DVB journalist, Sithu Zeya, was arrested for filming the aftermath of a fatal bomb attack during a Buddhist New Year celebration, according to DVB. At the time of his arrest, authorities confiscated many of his personal belongings, claiming they were tools for illegal activities bought with funds supplied by illegal outside organizations, according to the Canada-based Centre for Law and Democracy.

Maung Maung Zeya, also known as Thargyi Zeya, was sentenced on February 6, 2011, to 13 years under the Unlawful Association Act, Electronics Transactions Law, and Immigration Act. He was being held in 2011 in remote Hsipaw Prison, away from his son in Insein Prison and his Rangoon-based family, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma.

Maung Maung Zeya was first detained and interrogated at the Bahan Township police station in Rangoon and transferred on June 14, 2010, to Insein Prison. Maung Maung Zeya told a legal adviser that he was drugged during the initial days of his detention, according to the Centre for Law and Democracy.

DVB editors said Maung Maung Zeya was a senior member of its undercover team in Burma and was responsible for operational management, including assigning stories to other DVB journalists. DVB Deputy Editor Khin Maung Win told CPJ that authorities had offered to free Maung Maung Zeya if he divulged the names of other undercover DVB reporters.