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Arakan NLD members sentenced but released

Oct 26, 2007 (DVB), Two National League for Democracy members in Arakan state were released from detention yesterday despite recently receiving seven year prison sentences.

Taunggok NLD members Than Pe and Htun Kyi were released from Sandoway prison in Arakan state after enduring what they described as harsh treatment during an eight-day interrogation session by Battalion 346 officers at Ann interrogation camp.

Than Pe blamed his arrest on the government's desire to crack down on the NLD.

"We did not break any law to get arrested. This is the government’s plan to crackdown the NLD. We joined the protests as normal civilians, not as NLD members. We did not incite any riot during the protests," Than Pe said.

Than Pe said that he was not allowed to sleep for eight of the 13 days he was detained, and was given little food.

"I started feeling weak after a few days and they brought in a female doctor to check up on me. She measured my blood pressure and told the officers they could continue interrogating me as I was still in good shape," he said.

He was then taken from the prison and told he would be released, but was instead taken to Sandoway prison where they immediately passed his sentence.

Than Pe said his sentencing and subsequent release were an example of how arbitrary the government crackdown has been.

"The government released us only a few days after they had sentenced us to seven years' imprisonment. This shows that the SPDC is doing things at their will. They released me today but they may arrest me again tomorrow. There is no law and order," he said.

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet

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