Friday, 21 November 2008

Burma comic jailed for 45 years

Coming after some very long sentences last week for protesters, the Burmese government have now lashed out at a comic. Burmese comic Zarganar organised private deliveries of aid to cyclone victims, now the popular comedian active in Burma's democracy movement has been sentenced to 45 years in jail by a Burmese court.

Zarganar was found to have violated the Electronics Act, which regulates electronic communications. He is the latest in a string of opposition activists to be jailed by the military government. He was detained earlier this year for criticising the government's slow response to Cyclone Nargis in interviews with foreign news groups.

More than 80 activists have been sentenced over the past two weeks in a judicial crackdown across the spectrum of Burma's pro-democracy movement. Some people have been sentenced to terms as long as 65 years. Many took part in protests against the ruling junta sparked by fuel and food price rises in August 2007. This wave of trials has been condemned by the UN and rights groups. Those sentenced have committed no crime.

Fourteen activists in Burma have been given jail sentences of up to 65 years over their role in anti-government rallies last year. Another 20 leaders from the group are still being tried on numerous charges which could result in sentences of up to 150 years each. They did not receive a fair trial, and many now face spending the rest of their lives in jail.

The trials were held inside Rangoon’s notorious Insein prison, where the activists are being held, and the guilty verdicts were never really in doubt. The defence lawyers were so tightly restricted in what they could do or say that in the end the activists stopped using them.

The staggering length of these sentences does reinforce a very clear message - that Burma’s military rulers are no more prepared to tolerate opposition now than they have been throughout their half century in power.

Burma is ruled by one of the most brutal military dictatorships in the world; a dictatorship charged by the United Nations with a “crime against humanity” for its systematic abuses of human rights, and condemned internationally for refusing to transfer power to the legally elected Government of the country – the party led by Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who remains under house arrest and virtually incommunicado with her party and supporters.

This is a campaign video about Burma from Ricky Gervais.

1 comment:

Adrian Windisch said...

for more Burma protests