Nine more Myanmar activists sentenced to 65 years in jail

November 16th, 2008 - 12:26 am ICT by IANS  

Yangon, Nov 15 (DPA) Prominent Myanmar dissident Min Ko Naing and eight other student activists have been sentenced to 65 years in prison in an ongoing judicial crackdown on opposition to the ruling junta, witnesses said Saturday.The Special Court of Maubin, a town in the Irrawaddy Division about 95 km southwest of Yangon, sentenced Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Mya Aye, Pyone Cho, Aung Thu, Htay Kywe, Nyan Lin, Myo Aung Naing and Hla Myo Naung to 65 years imprisonment each, witnesses who attended the court said.

All nine were members of the 88 Generation Students, a dissident group that has roots in the 1988 mass demonstrations against Myanmar’s military rulers that ended in a bloodbath that left an estimated 3,000 dead.

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Htay Kywe were known pro-democracy activists.

The nine were moved from Yangon’s Insein prison to Maubin prison in the Irrawaddy division during the last week of October, after Insein prison special court sentenced each of them to six months detention on charges of contempt of court.

They had openly condemned the lack of justice in Myanmar’s military-appointed judiciary.

Min Ko Naing, 46, whose real name is Paw Oo Tun, has won several international awards for his pro-democracy efforts, such as the Civil Courage Prize 2005, the Homo Homini Award by People in Need Foundation, the Student Peace Prize in 2001 and the John Humphrey Freedom Award in 1999.

The long jail terms were the latest in a series of tough verdicts on dissidents, including Buddhist monks, who participated in the anti-government protests of August and September 2007.

Analysts say the judicial crackdown is in preparation for the 2010 general election, which promises to be neither free nor fair.

Myanmar has been under military rule since 1962. The country’s best known opposition figure, Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of the National League for Democracy party, has been under house arrest since May 2003.

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