Ne Min, a lawyer and a former stringer for the BBC, was sentenced to 15 years in prison on May 7, 2004. He was charged with illegally passing information to “anti-government” organizations operating in border areas, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners in Burma, a prisoner aid group based in Thailand.
It was the second time that Burma’s military government had imprisoned the well-known journalist, also known as Win Shwe, on charges related to disseminating information to news sources outside Burma. In 1989, a military tribunal sentenced Ne Min to 14 years of hard labor for “spreading false news and rumors to the BBC to fan further disturbances in the country” and “possession of documents including anti-government literature, which he planned to send to the BBC,” according to official radio reports. He served nine years at Rangoon’s Insein Prison before being released in 1998.
Exiled Burmese journalists told CPJ that Ne Min had provided news to political groups and exile-run news publications before his second arrest in February 2004.