Three prisoners from 2007 uprising released

Sept 10, 2009 (DVB), Three people imprisoned after allegedly speaking to foreign media prior to the September 2007 uprising have been released, despite a police crackdown in the lead up to this year's anniversary.

The men, all from Pakokku town in central Burma's Magwe division, were arrested on the brink of the monk-led uprising in 2007.

Authorities accused the three of inciting riot after allegedly handing information to foreign media outlets about the looming protests.

Pakkoku became the flashpoint of the uprising which swept the country after police broke up a peaceful demonstration on 5 September, injuring three monks.

Family members of the three men, Nay La, Thar Aung and Sein Linn, said that they were released from Thayet prison on Sunday and are in good health.

Their co-accused, Thant Shin, was given the same two-year term, plus a seven-year sentence under the Emergency Act.

The news comes amidst a government crackdown on suspected activists prior to the two-year anniversary of the uprising.

In recent weeks a number of monks have been intimidated and arrested, with the government fearing a repeat of their role in the protests.

Although by protocol monks are apolitical, the community withdrew religious services for the country's military generals during the uprising.

The sight of thousands of monks marching through the streets in their saffron robes led to the September 2007 uprising being named the Saffron Revolution.

Some of the estimated 138 fatalities from September 2007 were monks, with eye-witness accounts of troops beating and smashing the heads of monks against walls.

Reporting by Aye Nai

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