322 Imprisoned So Far in Five Months
According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), based on Thai-Burma border monitoring human rights situation in Burma, the Burmese military junta’s kangaroo courts sentenced at least 215 Monks and activists in prison between Nov 1 and 28, 2008. AAPP also reported that 21, 22, 16, and 48 monks and activists were sentenced in July, August, September and October 2008 respectively. Therefore total number of imprisonment of Buddhist Monks, Nuns and activists by the junta’s kangaroo courts in five months, from July to November this year, is at least 322.
As per instruction, these courts are expediting the close-door hearings everyday and trying to deliver punishment to all activists on trials by mid-December. While the judges are working hard to deliver harsh sentences to the activists, prison authorities are also transferring these newly-imprisoned activists to prisons in remote location every week.
Security Council Silenced
On October 11, 2007, the UN Security Council issued a Presidential Statement, calling for the Burma’s military junta to release all detainees arrested in August and September 2007, as well as all political prisoners. The junta ignores the demand, believing that the Council couldn’t go further as its allies China and Russia will use their veto powers to kill any action from the Council. While activists are receiving severe imprisonments, the junta’s military offensives in ethnic areas have intensified. Thousands of ethnic people were forced to abandon their destroyed-villages and fled to Thai-Burma border to avoid the killing of the junta’s soldiers.
Now, international human rights organizations are calling for the members of the Security Council to convene an emergency on Burma to review the effectiveness of its own Presidential Statement and to take further step. However, as objected by China, Russia, along with South Africa, the Security Council is forced to be quite. This inaction of the Council effectively gives the junta a license to continue its human rights violations uninterrupted.
14 Members of the 88 Generation Students Imprisoned on Nov 28, 2008
14 members of the 88 Generation Students group, who are on trials, received additional sentences today. Thein Than Tun (aka) Ko Ko Gyi, Zaw Htet Ko Ko, Thara Phee Theint Theint Tun (Female), Nobel Aye (aka) Hnin May Aung (Female), Lay Lay Mon (Female), Nweah Hnin Ye (aka) Noe Noe (Female), Aye Thida (Female), Thaw Zin Tun, Saw Myo Min Hlaing, Aung Thike Soe, Chit Ko Lin, Than Tin (aka) Kyee Than, San San Tin (Female) and Tin Htoo Aung, were sentenced six-year imprisonment each by a court held inside the Insein Prison Compound.
Among them, Thein Than Tun (aka) Ko Ko Gyi, Zaw Htet Ko Ko, Thara Phee Theint Theint Tun (Female), Nobel Aye (aka) Hnin May Aung (Female), Lay Lay Mon (Female), Nweah Hnin Ye (aka) Noe Noe (Female), Aye Thida (Female) have already received 5-year imprisonment on Nov 21. Therefore their total prison terms become 11-year each.
Thaw Zin Tun, Saw Myo Min Hlaing, Aung Thike Soe, Chit Ko Lin, Than Tin (aka) Kyee Than, San San Tin (Female) and Tin Htoo Aung also received 3-year imprisonment on Nov 21. Therefore their prison terms become 9-year each.
Two Journalists Imprisoned on Nov 28, 2008
Two journalists, Thet Zin and Sein Win Maung, who were arrested on Feb 16, 2008, were also sentenced 7-year imprisonment each by a closed-door court held inside the Insein Prison Compound today. Thet Zin is a former political prisoner and Editor-in-Chief of the Myanmar Nation Weekly Journal. Sein Win Maung was the Administrative Manager of the journal and they were arrested together while the junta’s security forces raided the journal office and their homes.
7 Members of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network Imprisoned on Nov 28, 2008
Today, the junta’s court delivered harsh sentences to 7 members of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network, including its leader Myint Aye. They all were arrested in August 2008 by the authorities and accused that they orchestrated to make an explosion in Shwe Pyi Thar Township. Myint Aye, Yan Shwe and Zaw Zaw Aung received life imprisonment. In addition to the life imprisonment, they also received 8-year, 13-year and 8-year imprisonment respectively. Myo Min, Thant Zaw Mying and Nan Aung received 8-year imprisonment each and Tun Tun Oo received 5-year imprisonment.
Zarganar, Zaw Thet Htwe and Thant Zin Aung Received Additional Sentences
Three cyclone volunteers, who have already received harsh prison sentences on Nov 21, received more sentences on Nov 27, 2008.
Burma’s famous comedian, active social worker and former political prisoner Zarganar (aka) Maung Thura was sentenced 14-year imprisonment. As he has already received 45-year imprisonment a week ago, his total prison terms become 59 years.
Journalist, social worker and former political prisoner Zaw Thet Htwe was also sentenced 4-year imprisonment. As he has already received 15-year imprisonment a week ago, his total prison terms become 19 years.
Their co-defendant Thant Zin Aung was also sentenced 3-year imprisonment. As he has already received 15-year imprisonment a week ago, his total prison terms become 18 years.
Two Members of the Generation Wave Imprisoned
Two members of the Generation Wave, formed during the Saffron Revolution in September 2007, were sentenced by a court held inside Insein Prison Compound on Nov 24, 2008. Saw Maung and Tin Myo Htut (aka) Kyaw Oo received 8-year imprisonment each.
Complainants Become Accused
I have reported on Oct 31, 2008 that four farmers from Magway Division, who asked the ILO to help, were arrested by the authorities. Hla Soe, Nay Lin and Sein Sating from Natmauk Township were arrested on Oct 20 and Zaw Htay from Aunglan was arrested on Oct 30. They are now sent before the Natmauk Township Court with the charge under the Section 33 (A) and 38 of the Electronic Transactions Law, which is punishable 15-year imprisonment.
A group of farmers from Aunglan and Natmauk Townships in Magway Division sent a letter to ILO office in Rangoon in July 2008, appealing the ILO to help them to get back their firm lands which were forcibly confiscated by the authorities. Central Military Weapons and Ammunitions Warehouse Battalion, stationed nearby Natmauk-Magway Railroad confiscated 5,000 acres from farmers in 2006 without compensation for its headquarters expansion. 49 farmers signed on the letter to the ILO. After 4 mentioned above were arrested, the rest of the signatories are fleeing from their homes and hiding to avoid the arrest.
The plaintiff is Captain Phyo Way Lin from the Central Military Weapons and Ammunitions Warehouse and four farmers are accused that they used Internet to send the state secret to international community.
Prison Transfers Continue
More than 70 political prisoners were transferred to prisons in remote location by the prison authorities on Nov 23, 24, 25, and 27. I could not name them in this report as it would be too long.
Burma’s famous musician Win Maw, who was sentenced seven-year imprisonment on Nov 11 and transferred to Tharyarwaddy Prison in Bago Division on Nov 17, was transferred back to Insein Prison on Nov 22 to face additional trials.