19 Mar 2015

Myanmar sentence appeal will take ten days

7:40 am on 19 March 2015

A New Zealander who has been sentenced to two and a-half years in a Myanmar prison for breaching the country's Religion Act, will appeal against his sentence.

Philip Blackwood.

Philip Blackwood. Photo: AFP

Philip Blackwood and two local men were sentenced to two years of hard labour for using an image of Buddha wearing headphones to promote their Yangon bar on social media.

Mr Blackwood's lawyer Mya Thway said it would take about ten days to sort out the paperwork and gather evidence to file an appeal in a higher court.

If that fails, there are two higher courts where Mr Blackwood can file the appeal before heading to the country's president.

Any appeal must be filed within two months.

Mr Blackwood's father Brian said he had been sending his son money as the conditions in the prison were poor.

Phillip Blackwood (left) led into court in Yangon with Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin.

Phillip Blackwood (left) led into court in Yangon with Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin. Photo: SUPPLIED

"He's handled himself remarkably well, he's obviously got problems and issues with sleep deprivation as he is sleeping on a pallet, but yeah - the facilities there are pretty basic, as you might imagine."

Labour MP David Shearer has called on the Government to intervene in the case, but the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has rejected this.

Amnesty International said the sentence handed down by the Myanmar judge was outrageous and that it was likely the judge was under "pressure from hard-line monks for a sentence that will set an example for others".

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