Solo demonstrator sentenced to 2 years

Sep 1, 2008 (DVB), Commodity protester U Aye Win, who was arrested for staging a solo demonstration against fuel price hikes in August last year, was sentenced to two years in prison on Friday, according to his colleagues.

U Aye Win was arrested on 24 August 2007 while staging his protest in the Irrawaddy capital Bassein.

He was questioned by local authorities and special police and released on 30 August but was then arrested again in early September.

U Kyaw Ho, a National League for Democracy leader in Bassein, said Aye Win was first charged under sections 505(b) and 143 of the penal code for disturbing public order and unlawful assembly but the second charge was later dropped.

"He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment under section 505(b) and is now being held in Bassein prison," said Kyaw Ho.

"We offered him legal assistance for his trial but he said he didn’t need a lawyer."

Aye Win was arrested and jailed on a previous occasion for staging a protest calling for the release of opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

NLD spokesperson U Nyan Win, said that the Burmese government was currently stepping up its actions against activists.

"We are seeing a lot of activists being given various prison terms at this time, and we wonder if instructions have been given to local authorities to hand out all these sentences," he said.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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