The popular Burmese comedian Zarganar has been sentenced to 45 years in jail for criticising the military government’s response to cyclone Nargis. He is one of dozens of dissidents sentenced to excessively long jail terms for criticising the junta. Officials have announced a roadmap to democracy and are planning a general election for 2010. But Zanganar’s sentence has raised questions about the seriousness of the government’s commitment to democracy.

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