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Myanmar rights activist sentenced to eight years in prison

[JURIST] Myanmar human rights activist Ko Myint Naing has been sentenced to eight years in prison, according to his lawyer and fellow activists Wednesday. A judge sentenced Myint Naing for inciting unrest during an April 2007 incident in which Myint Naing and another member of the Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network [Wikipedia backgrounder] were attacked by a pro-government mob while en route to a human rights training session. The attackers are suspected of belonging to the government-sponsored anti-opposition Union Solidarity and Development Association [official website]. The US Campaign for Burma [advocacy website] also reported that five activists accompanying Myint Naing were each sentenced to four years in prison. AP has more.

The military-led government of Myanmar [JURIST news archive] has recently received widespread international criticism for alleged human rights violations. In June, the United States renewed pressure [JURIST report] on the nation to release democracy advocate and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Daw Aung San Suu Kyi [advocacy website], as well as 52 activists arrested [JURIST report] in May for participating in vigils calling for her release. In May, the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention ruled [opinion, PDF] that the extended detention of Suu Kyi violates the Universal Declaration on Human Rights and the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights [texts]. Also in June, the International Committee of the Red Cross [official website] denounced "violations of international humanitarian law" [press release] committed by the Myanmar government against citizens and detainees.

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