11/11/2008, 00.00
MYANMAR
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Activists from the 88 Generation Student Group sentenced to 65 years in prison

The group was involved in a protest movement sparked by fuel price hikes in August 2007, which eventually turned into a monk-led revolt that was crushed in a bloodbath by the country’s military dictatorship. A labour rights advocate also gets 12 years in jail for defending the rights of workers.
Yangon (AsiaNews) – Repression against dissidents continues in Myanmar. Fourteen leading activists, including five women, from the 88 Generation Students group, were each given 65-year sentences for their political activity during Burma’s monk-led uprising in September last year.

A source that visited Insein prison said that a prominent labour rights activist, Su Su Nway, was also sentenced to 12 and half years.

Similarly, yesterday a court in the same prison imposed a 20 and a half years sentence on a young blogger, 28-year-old Nay Phone Latt, for insulting the head of state.

This new wave of prison sentences is a sign that the military junta ruling the country formerly known as Burma is carrying out another crackdown against dissent.

According to opposition newspaper The Irrawaddy, the 88 Generation Students group was involved in mass protest sparked by the government’s decision in August 2007 to increase fuel prices. The unrest eventually turned into a popular uprising led by monks which the military junta crushed in a bloody crackdown.

The 88 Generation Student Group refers to a student movement that emerged in August 1988 when a series of demonstrations was launched in favour of democracy and human rights in Myanmar. They were suppressed by a military dictatorship that is still in power. At least 3,000 people were killed and some 10,000 students were forced into exile.

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