Youth activist's sentence extended by 10 years

Oct 7, 2009 (DVB), A Burmese youth activist currently serving eight years in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison yesterday had his sentence extended by 10 years, sources close to his family said.

Nyein Chan, a member of the Generation Wave (GW) activist group, was yesterday found guilty of breaching the Electronics Act, a charge that has been used to imprison numerous activists, journalists and politicians in Burma.

"He was previously sentenced to eight years in prison by San Chaung district court under the Unlawful Association Act and still has two more trials to face at the same court," said the source, speaking under condition of anonymity.

Nyein Chan's initial sentence of eight years was handed down in February this year after he was caught distributing leaflets to mark the one-year anniversary of the founding of GW.

The source said that the multiple trials he is facing that force him to attend court up to three times a week are "damaging his physical and mental health". He said the total prison sentence could be more than 20 years.

Burma currently holds around 2,120 political prisoners, including 244 monks and 270 students, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners , Burma (AAPP).

The ruling junta last month announced an amnesty of more than 7,000 political prisoners, nearly 130 of which were political prisoners.

Critics of the junta cautiously welcomed the amnesty, but claimed it was done for cosmetic reasons. AAPP, who comprise of former Burmese political prisoners, said the move was a "cynical ploy" to deflect international criticism of the junta.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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