x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Six jailed over Myanmar protests

Six members of Myanmar's pro-democracy party have been given prison terms for their part in monk-led protests.

Six members of Myanmar's pro-democracy party have been given long prison terms for their part in last year's monk-led protests, a party spokesman said today. The six were sentenced at a court in the central city of Mandalay yesterday, Nyan Win of the National League of Democracy (NLD) told reporters. "Six party members were sentenced to two to 13 years imprisonment each... They were charged with inciting people to harm the peace of the State," Mr Nyan Win said.

Win Mya Mya, a senior NLD member from Mandalay, was sentenced to 12 years in jail, along with another member Kan Tun. Among other NLD activists, Min Thu received a 13-year sentence, Than Lwin received eight years, Win Shwe was given 11 years while Tin Ko Ko was sentenced to two years in prison. "We will appeal for them soon," Mr Nyan Win said. About 200 NLD members were detained during and after the marches of Sept2007, dubbed the 'Saffron Revolution' in reference to the colour of the robes worn by the revered monks who led the protests.

Protests began sporadically in August last year over a hike in fuel prices, but quickly escalated with 100,000 people eventually taking to the streets in the biggest uprising since 1988. Myanmar's military regime launched a crackdown on Sept 26, opening fire on the crowds, killing 31 people according to the United Nations, including one Japanese journalist who was shot at close range. Another 74 people remain missing and thousands more were arrested.

The NLD, led by detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta never allowed them to take office. Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962. *AFP