12/23/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Myanmar Sentences Comedian To 45-Year Sentence For Helping Cyclone Victims

A secret court run by Myanmar's military leadership on Friday sentenced a prominent Burmese comedian and activist to 45 years in prison, continuing a recent crackdown on dissidents.

The comedian, U Maung Thura, 47, better known by his stage name Zarganar, or the Tweezers, was detained in June after he organized a private assistance effort to help victims of the May cyclone, which killed more than 130,000 Burmese. With aid organizations and Western governments, he criticized Myanmar's handling of the disaster.

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