New Delhi - At least 14 prominent student activists in Burma, detained for their involvement in the September 2007 protests, have been sentenced to 65 years imprisonment, a mother of one student activist said.
The mother of Pandeik Tun, one of the student activists reportedly sentenced, told Mizzima that her son, along with 13 others, was sentenced to a prison term of 65 years by a court in Rangoon's Insein prison.
According to her, the student activists sentenced were: Jimmy (aka) Kyaw Minn Yu, Min Zeya, Ant Bwe Kyaw, Zeya (aka) Kalama, Thet Zaw, Aye Than (aka) Thant Tin, Zaw Zaw Min, Pandeik Tun, Nilar Thein, Mar Mar Oo, Sandar Min, Mie Mie (aka) Thin Thin Aye, Thet Thet Aung and Kyaw Kyaw Htwe.
"I was told by a friend who lives in front of Insein prison. He told us that Pandeik Tun and his friends have been sentenced to 65 years, and that the days for prison visits have been changed to Thursdays and Fridays," Pandeik Tun's mother told Mizzima by telephone.
Views on the long-term prison sentences handed down to 88 generation students
Nyan Win, Spokesperson of Burma's main opposition political party – National League for Democracy:
"The sentencing of student activists is a threat to all political activists, political parties and to everyone. It has been twenty years since the junta started doing these things. The junta has been doing things as they want so there is no development in the country. There is no stability in politics, the economy is deteriorating and it is bound to go on this way under military rule. If they continue like this the country will only further deteriorate."
"I want to urge the government to uphold their promises to implement reforms and follow the resolutions passed by the United Nations General Assembly, and also to strictly follow the instructions given by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon."
Thakhin Chan Tun:
"I have never seen the government being so rude, even during the Burma Socialist Programme Party regime or the revolutionary council regime. During those days, the government at least followed the rules that they had set. But now the law seems to be just a namesake and does not have any value. The junta is doing everything it wills. Sentencing young people to long prison terms only shows that they are doing everything at will and do not care about the laws or anybody."
"Arresting and sentencing even lawyers, who are defending the political prisoners, to four months and six months [in prison]… only shows that there is no law under the military's rule and their actions are only proving that. They are having laws only in namesake and are manipulating the laws to their convenience. They should stop doing such things."
"I think the sentencing of the political prisoners is mainly to scare people. But they should know that most students and youth do not have much pressure on them and are not scared to die either. They are brave, hard working and adventurous. And I believe the activists will get what they are fighting for."
"Similarly, Burma's authorities had earlier sentenced Shan ethnic leaders to over 90 year prison terms. And besides, the junta has transferred key activists, including Min Ko Naing, to Ma U Pin township.
Daw Tin Tin Win, over 70 years of age, grandmother of Ant Bwe Kyaw:
"I do not want to believe it because what they [the students] did is not a severe crime. I did not believe they would be punished so severely. I did not believe it when I heard about it."
"But now, since they have already sentenced them, I plan to visit them on Thursday."
Aye Thar Aung, Secretary of the Committee Representing Peoples Parliament (CRPP):
"Looking at the sentencing of the students, it shows that the military regime is deliberately escalating the crackdown on students, youth, ethnic opposition and all activists calling for democracy. Despite their claim that they are moving forward to democracy, such repression shows that the regime is not genuinely building for democracy and it is clear that the country will further deteriorate in the near future."
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