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Burma: Democracy Activists Sentenced

(Nov. 3, 2008) On October 24, 2008, a special court in Mandalay, Burma (also called Myanmar), sentenced six members of the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) party to prison terms ranging from 2 to 13 years, on charges of “rousing public alarm and promoting hatred,” according to an NLD spokesperson. The head of the NLD is Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been under house arrest for a total of 13 years at the order of the country's military-led government. (Myanmar Court Sends Six NLD Members to Prison, AP, Oct. 26, 2008, at 4, available at

The six NLD members had been arrested in the wake of pro-democracy protests held throughout Burma in September 2007, before the demonstrations were violently put down by the army; trial proceedings began in August 2008. (Id.) An estimated 200 NLD members were detained during and after the protest marches, which had begun in August 2007, initially in response to a fuel price increase. Eventually about 100,000 people took part in the “Saffron Revolution” (so called because it was led by monks in their saffron-colored robes), in what became “the biggest uprising since 1988”. 31 people were killed by armed forces' gunfire according to the United Nations, 74 reportedly are still missing, and “thousands more were arrested.” (Six Aung San Suu Kyi Supporters Jailed for Last Year's Protests, THE SIDNEY MORNING HERALD, Oct. 25, 2008, available at