Burmese Editor Jailed for Burying Cyclone Dead

A magazine editor is among 16 Burmese arrested and jailed for helping bury Cyclone Nargis victims, according to media rights watchdog Reporters Without Borders.

Aung Kyaw San, editor of the Myanmar Tribune, has been detained since June 15 for traveling to Irrawaddy Delta to help put the cyclone's dead to rest, Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association said in a statement. Aung's magazine has been shut down, according to reports from Agence France-Presse.

His group of volunteers had buried more than 400 bodies, following Red Cross procedures, but were arrested as they returned to the main city of Rangoon to collect more burial sacks, the groups said.

Five of them, including Aung, are being held in the notorious Insein Prison north of Rangoon, the statement added.

"It is now essential to get the junta to stop preventing civil society, including the press, from participating in the relief effort," the groups said.

At least 10 journalists and a blogger are now detained in Burma, they added.

More than 138,000 people are dead or missing after Cyclone Nargis hit the country nearly eight weeks ago. The United Nations estimates 2.4 million people need humanitarian aid.

In a report released yesterday, experts from the U.N. and South-East Asia said that only 45 percent of survivors are receiving humanitarian aid.

Most must fend for themselves or seek help from local donors.

Burma's military, which has ruled the country since 1962, sparked global outrage in the weeks after the storm by refusing to allow a major international relief effort.

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