US condemns charges against activists

Jan 30, 2008 (DVB), The US State Department has condemned the Burmese government's decision to charge 88 generation student leaders Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi and eight other activists.

In a statement released yesterday, deputy spokesperson Tom Casey said that the ten activists were being charged "for the peaceful expression of their political beliefs".

The statement said the decision to press charges demonstrated that the regime was not serious about moving towards democratic transition and genuine engagement with democracy activists.

"The regime's decision to charge the ten activists for crimes that carry lengthy prison sentences is further evidence that the regime is rejecting all efforts to promote dialogue and national reconciliation," the statement said.

Min Ko Naing and Ko Ko Gyi were charged under section 17/20 of the Printers and Publishers Registration Law, having been detained without charge since August 2007 for their role in protests over commodity prices.

Ko Jimmy, Ko Mya Aye, Ko Marki, Ko Aung Thu, Ko Min Zeya, Zaw Htet Ko Ko, Ko Aung Naing and Ko Tin Htoo Aung were charged with the same offence and remain on remand in Insein prison.

Reporting by Si√¢n Thomas

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