Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Burma, the Latest

I have just received an email from the Burma Campaign UK and I am just going to replicate if here without further comment.

“Today the regime sentenced 14 leading democracy activists in Burma to 65 years in prison. If they are forced to serve their full terms, they will die in jail. The sentences were handed down at around 1pm, behind closed doors in Insein prison special court in Rangoon. Family members were not allowed to attend the hearing. The sentences today relate to only five charges. They are all charged with a total of 21 charges and face further sentences as their trials continue.

Those sentenced are all prominent members of the 88 Generation Students group, which led the peaceful demonstrations last September.

In a separate hearing held in Insein prison special court, labour activist Su Su Nwe was sentenced to 12 years and 6 months.

Take action. Please send an email to the UN Security Council urging Ban Ki-moon to visit Burma and make the release of political prisoners his top priority:

Only yesterday EU foreign ministers met and called for the release of all political prisoners. The EU promised to increase pressure on the regime if there was no progress to reform, but despite the situation getting worse they have taken no action.

The UN must act. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is due to visit Burma in December, but there are fears he may back out of the visit because of the difficulties in negotiating with the regime. These sentences make it all the more important that Ban Ki-moon goes ahead with his visit. We have had 37 visits to Burma by UN envoys, but things have only got worse. We need his personal engagement on Burma”.

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