Wednesday, January 14, 2009

104 Years Given to Political Dissident - Bo Min Yu Ko


(Irrawaddy News) -A Burmese court sentenced Bo Min Yu Ko, a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (Upper Burma, ABFSU), to a total of 104 years in prison on January 3, according to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) (AAPP).

Bo Min Yu Ko, known as Phyo Gyi, in his early 20s, was sentenced by a special court in Obo Prison in Mandalay. He was arrested on September 18 and charged under different laws, including six charges under the Burmese immigration act, said the AAPP.

Bo Min Yu Ko’s 104-year sentence is the harshest punishment for a political dissident since the recent series of dissident trials which started in October 2008. He was not allowed to be represented by a lawyer, and his family was prevented from attending the trial.

“This is yet another harsh and cruel sentence handed down by the regime’s kangaroo courts,” said Bo Kyi, joint AAPP secretary. “The courts are not independent and simply follow orders from the regime.”

“Criminals sentenced on drug charges are often given relatively light sentences, but political activists are given very long terms of imprisonment,” Bo Kyi said.

Meanwhile, three other members of the ABFSU (Upper Burma) were sentenced by an Obo Prison court in late December.

Kay Thi Aung, 23, who is pregnant, was sentenced to 26 years; Ko Nyi was sentenced to 50 years; and Wai Myo Htoo was sentenced to 26 years, according to Tun Tun, an ABFSU member.

Since October 2008, Burmese military courts set up in prisons across the country have sentenced scores of political dissidents and their supporters on charges relating to involvement in peaceful demonstrations or freedom of expression. At least 280 political activists have been sentenced.

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