Burma jails activist for 104 years

A Burma court has jailed a student activist for 104 years, while the ruling junta freed six people who campaigned for the release of pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, officials said on Thursday.

Student activist Bo Min Yu Ko, who is in his twenties, was sentenced at a court in the central city of Mandalay in the past week, the latest in a wave of stiff prison terms handed down in the military-ruled nation in recent months.

“He was sentenced for his political activities as he went to the border [with Thailand] to contact an exile group,” a Burma official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity.

“He was also charged with some other cases related to his political movement,” the official added, without giving further details on Bo Min Yu Ko or the cases against him.

Separately, authorities on Wednesday freed six out of nine members of Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) who were arrested last month near the People’s Parliament in Rangoon during a march calling for her freedom.

Burma’s military rulers have kept 63-year-old Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest in Rangoon for most of the past 19 years. She currently has an appeal pending against her detention.

“Six people out of nine were released from the detention centre yesterday [Wednesday]. But the only woman, Htet Htet Oo Wai, and two men are still in detention,” said another official who did not want to be named.

Another official said the three might face legal charges for their activities.

About 270 activists including monks, student leaders and NLD members have been handed long jail terms in recent weeks for their roles in anti-junta protests last year and for helping victims of Cyclone Nargis in May.

Burma has been ruled by the military since 1962.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s party won a landslide victory in 1990 elections but the junta never allowed them to take office.—AFP


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