Thursday, July 26, 2007

Myanmar Human Rights Defender Jailed

Myanmar Human Rights Defender Jailed

A Myanmar human rights defender beaten by a pro-government mob was sentenced to eight years in prison for inciting unrest, activists said Wednesday.

Myint Naing was sentenced Tuesday by Judge Aung Min Hein in the Henzeda township court, 60 miles northwest of Yangon, said Bo Kyi, joint-secretary of the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma.

He said information about the sentence came from the trial's spectators and the defendant's lawyer. The judge or a court spokesman could not be contacted.

The U.S. Campaign for Burma, which lobbies against Myanmar's military government, says that five villagers who were with Myint Naing were also sentenced to four years' imprisonment each. Burma is the old name for Myanmar, and preferred by the military regime's opponents.

Myint Naing - also known as Myint Hlaing - and a fellow member of Human Rights Defenders and Promoters Network, Maung Maung Lay, were attacked and seriously wounded April 18 at Oakpon village in Henzeda, said the U.S. Campaign for Burma and the New York-based Human Rights Watch. They were headed to another village to continue to conduct human rights training.

Their attackers, the groups said, were 50-100 men with clubs and other homemade weapons. The groups said the attack was organized and carried out by members of the Union Solidarity and Development Association - USDA - a government-backed group accused of assaulting and intimidating the junta's opponents.

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