Eight charged for Sept 2007 activities

Jan 21, 2010 (DVB), Eight activists have been charged for their role in the September 2007 uprising, more than two years after police in Burma launched a brutal crackdown on peaceful protests.

The eight men, who include four monk and a school teacher, were arrested last year during a crackdown that coincided with the two-year anniversary of the so-called Saffron Revolution.

Lawyer Kyaw Ho, who is representing two of the men, Thandar Htun and Ko Nyo, said that all eight were charged under the Unlawful Associations Act and the Immigration Act, which together carry a maximum seven-year sentence.

The other defendants are Ye Myint, U Yaywata, U Kawthita, U Withudi, U Waryama and Kyaw Khin.

"They were, [accused] of having contacts with the All Burma Monks Association and the Generation Wave [activist groups], and also charged under the Immigration Act for illegally crossing border to meet with those groups," said Kyaw Ho.

He added there was "no legitimacy" in making his clients, who were arrested in their hometown of Mandalay, stand trial in Rangoon.

Five of the men reportedly do not have lawyer assistance, while Kyaw Ho said that relatives of the eight had been barred from visiting them since their arrest.

The Burmese government in September last year launched a crackdown on people suspected of involvement in fomenting the 2007 uprising, in which thousands of civilians, led by monks, took to the streets of Burma initially to protest against a hike in fuel prices.

The demonstrations quickly became a show of force against the military regime, which responded by firing into crowds and killings hundreds.

Burma's revered monk community was targeted in the crackdown. According to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma (AAPP), more than 250 monks are currently held in Burmese prisons.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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