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Myanmar court sentences 14 political activists to 65 years in prison

[JURIST] A Myanmar [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] court on Tuesday sentenced fourteen members of the 88 Generation Students [BBC backgrounder] pro-democracy group to sixty-five years in prison, according to media reports [AFP report; IHT report]. The sentencing was revealed by defendants' relatives after allegedly taking place in a court in Yangon's Insein Prison [BBC backgrounder]. The Thai website Irawaddy.org has published the names [Irawaddy.com report] of the convicted activists. The defendants were arrested for their participation in anti-junta protests last year regarding fuel prices in defiance of Myanmar's May 1996 anti-protest law, among others. AP has more.

The convictions are the latest in what has been criticized by the UN Human Rights Council [UNHRC resolution], Human Rights Watch [HRW report], Amnesty International [AI report], and others as a systematic ongoing effort to repress dissenters. On Monday, a Myanmar blogger was sentenced [AP report] to twenty years in prison for protest involvement. Last week, two lawyers for dissident students were sentenced [JURIST report] to four months in prison for for being "disrespectful" during their representation. In October, nine people, many of whom were members of 88 Generation Students, were sentenced [JURIST report] to six months in prison for interrupting a judicial proceeding. The 88 Generation Students have been prominent in pro-democracy campaigns since the 1988 Burmese student uprising [BBC backgrounder].

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