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Jail term extended for 2007 activist

Nov 19, 2009 (DVB), An activist whose group played a key role in sparking the September 2007 monk-led uprising in Burma has had his 10-year prison sentence extended by eight years, sources close to his family said.

Kan Myint, who spent four years in prison in the early 1990's, was an active member of the commodity protester group, Myanmar Development Committee, whose protests against the sudden hike in fuel prices in September 2007 triggered the uprising.

He was arrested on 8 December 2008 and later handed a 10-year sentence on charges of causing a public riot, and breaching the Immigration Act and Video Act. The leader of the group, Htin Kyaw, is currently serving 12 years and six months in prison.

A source close to Kan Myint's family said that he was sentenced on 13 November to eight more years in prison on separate under the Unlawful Association Act (17-1) for having link with an unlawful association, and Act (17-2) for involvement with an unlawful association.

The Unlawful Association Act is regularly used by the Burmese military government to imprison opposition activists, journalists and politicians.

"According to his lawyer, he could not be charged with Act 17-1 after he was already charged with Act 17-2," said the source, speaking on condition of anonymity. "However the court gave him maximum sentences for both charges separately."

The case mirrors that of another activist, Generation Wave member Nyein Chan, who last month had an eight-year sentence extended by 10 years. He had been caught distributing leaflets to mark the one-year anniversary of the founding of the youth activist group.

Meanwhile, three members of the opposition National League for Democracy party facing trial in Rangoon's notorious Insein prison special court were yesterday charged with the Unlawful Associations Act, according to lawyer Kyaw Ho.

The members are Ma Cho (also known as Myint Myint San), Sein Hlaing and Shwe Gyo.

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).

Reporting by Khin Hnin Htet


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