Burma Democracy Activists & Monks Sentenced to 65 Yrs. in Prison
The junta sentenced leading democracy activists to 65 years in prison.
Prominent activists from 88 Generation Students group, Ko Ko Gyi, second from left, Min Ko Naing, third from left, and Htay Kywe, fourth from left, lead supporters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi on their way towards Yangon’s famous Shwedagon pagoda to pray for Suu Kyi’s release from house arrest in this May 27, 2007 file photo. A court in military-ruled Myanmar has sentenced an additional nine pro-democracy activists, including Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe, to 65-year prison terms, relatives and activists said Saturday November 15, 2008. (AP and Daylife)
The Myanmar junta sentenced 85 monks and democracy protesters to jail this week. More than 80 received sentences up to 65 years for protesting for democratic reform.
The AP reported:
In a devastating week for Myanmar’s democracy movement, dozens of its members have been sentenced to lengthy prison terms, as the military-ruled government locks away writers and Buddhist monks — as well as musicians, a poet and at least one journalist.
By the weekend, more than 80 had received sentences of up to 65 years — a move that seemed designed to keep them jailed long past upcoming elections, activists and analysts said Sunday.
“They are clearing the decks of anyone who is likely to challenge their authority ahead of the election” in 2010, Larry Jagan, a Bangkok-based newspaper columnist and Myanmar analyst, said of the generals who rule the country.
Many of those sentenced were arrested following mass pro-democracy protests that were crushed by the ruling junta in September 2007. According to U.N. estimates, at least 31 people were killed and thousands were detained. Many fled the country or went underground.
Others sentenced this week were arrested in 2007 for protesting a massive fuel-price hike — demonstrations that preceded the protests in September. The blogger received more than 20 years in prison for Internet activities, and a poet was sentenced to two years for allegedly concealing the text of an anti-government slogan in one of his works. The journalist was arrested while covering a demonstration staged by victims of this year’s devastating cyclone.
…Twenty-three of those sentenced were members of the 88 Generation Students group, veterans of a brutally suppressed 1988 democratic uprising, who received prison terms of 65 years each, and a labor activist, Su Su Nway, was sentenced to 12 1/2 years. At least 10 people allied with the pro-democracy National League for Democracy party headed by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi received jail terms of eight to 24 years.
Thousands of Buddhist monks marched in the Hledan area of Rangoon back in September 2007. The monks led massive democracy protests against the brutal junta. Unfortunately, the military regime cracked down on the activists killing and imprisoning several thousand men and women for demanding freedom. (BBC)
In August of this year President Bush met with several Burmese activists in Thailand.