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Myanmar opposition leaders receive 65-year prison terms

[JURIST] A closed court in military-ruled Myanmar [BBC backgrounder; JURIST news archive] has sentenced three top pro-democracy leaders to 65 years in prison, relatives of the leaders told AFP Saturday. Activists Min Ko Naing [advocacy website], Ko Ko Gyu, and Ktay Kywe were all sentenced along with other members of the 88 Generation Students [BBC backgrounder] arrested for their participation in anti-junta protests last year. Seventeen more democracy activists were sentenced to between two and 16 years on Friday. The judicial proceedings allegedly occurred in a court in Yangon's Insein Prison [BBC backgrounder]. It is unclear precisely how many activists have been sentenced, although activists estimate more than 60 have been sentenced during this week. AFP has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

On Wednesday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon [official profile] voiced concern about the lengthy and severe prison terms, calling for the military junta to release [JURIST report] democracy activists and other political prisoners. The European Union (EU) and the US have also expressed concern over human rights violations in the country and the lack of investigations in the aftermath of last year's violent government suppression of pro-democracy demonstrations. Human rights groups have estimated that more than 2,100 Burmese have been imprisoned for their religious and political beliefs despite the government's release [JURIST report] of over 9,000 political prisoners in September.

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