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Nine monks jailed in Myanmar: opposition

Nine Buddhist monks were jailed for between six and eight years by courts in Myanmar this week for taking part in last year's anti-junta protests, an opposition party spokesman said.

world Updated: Nov 14, 2008 15:08 IST

Nine Buddhist monks were jailed for between six and eight years by courts in Myanmar this week for taking part in last year's anti-junta protests, an opposition party spokesman said on Friday.

At least 14 members of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party (NLD) were also given prison sentences of four to 10 years, said party spokesman Nyan Win.

Rights groups say Myanmar has intensified efforts to curb dissent ahead of elections in 2010 with a string of heavy sentences handed down to activists this week over the demonstrations in August and September 2007.

"Four monks were sentenced to eight years imprisonment each" at court hearings on Thursday, Nyan Win told AFP, without giving further details.

Also on Thursday, 11 NLD members from the commercial hub of Yangon were jailed for seven-and-a-half years each and another three were given sentences of four to 10 years, he said.

Nyan Win said five other monks arrested in September last year from Ngwe Kyar Yan monastery in Yangon were sentenced to six-and-a-half years each on Tuesday at the notorious Insein prison on the outskirts of the city.

The Myanmar protests began as small rallies in August 2007 against the rising cost of living, but escalated into huge demonstrations led by Buddhist monks that posed the biggest challenge to junta rule in nearly two decades.

At least 31 people were killed when security forces cracked down on the protesters, according to the United Nations.