Wednesday, November 19, 2008

White House deplores recent sentencing of Burmese activists

Mizzima News
18 November 2008

Stressing that the international community and United Nations Security Council can ill afford to remain silent, the White House on Monday issued a condemnation of the recent convictions of scores of Burmese pro-democracy activists.

In a statement issued through President George Bush's office, the United States decried the fact that, through the arbitrary actions of the Burmese junta, opposition figures in Burma are being denied the basic rights guaranteed under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

"Brave Burmese patriots such as Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, and Htay Kywe, were among those who have been sentenced to 65 years' imprisonment for their peaceful participation in the August 2007 protests, in which Burmese citizens, including monks and activists, called on the regime to address the basic needs of the Burmese people," reads the missive from Washington.

At the center of the international storm enveloping the sentencing of the activists has been the issue of Burma's judicial system. Rights organizations, the United Nations and European Union have all voiced the need to reform Burma's judiciary, a call echoed on Monday by the words from the White House.

"We further deplore the complete lack of due process, as these men and women have been arrested, detained, charged, and tried behind closed doors without the benefit of counsel," states Washington.

According to the President's office, despite repeated calls from across the international community for the release of all political prisoners in Burma, Burma's military government has instead seen to the conviction of at least 86 dissidents since November 7th.

It is expected that Burma's courts will announce the further sentencing of activists over the course of the upcoming days and weeks.

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