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Ban asks Junta to free political prisoners

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Myanmar's military government to release all political prisoners issued lengthy jail terms for participating in last year's mass pro-democracy protests.

world Updated: Nov 13, 2008 15:48 IST

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked Myanmar's military government to release all political prisoners issued lengthy jail terms for participating in last year's mass pro-democracy protests.

"He calls once again for all political prisoners to be released and for all citizens of Myanmar to be allowed to freely participate in their country's political future as part of an inclusive national reconciliation process," a statement issued by Ban's spokesperson said.

A leading international human rights watchdog had also asked the junta in Myanmar yesterday to immediately "exonerate and free" activists who are being tried by "unfair courts" for their "peaceful participation" in protests in September 2007.

Media reports said that members who were at the forefront of a 1988 pro-democracy uprising were subjected to lengthy prison terms and torture after the rebellion was brutally suppressed by the military.

After they were freed, they resumed their political activities and spearheaded open and legal protests against the military government and played prominent roles in protests leading up to last year's mass pro-democracy demonstration, which were crushed by the ruling junta in September last year.