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Former Myanmar minister gets 7-year jail term

Foreign Minister Win Aung has been sentenced to prison on charges of abuse of power, after a secret trial inside the Insein jail.

india Updated: Apr 11, 2006 13:08 IST

Former Myanmar foreign minister Win Aung has been sentenced to seven years in prison on charges of abuse of power, after a secret trial inside the notorious Insein jail, activists said on Tuesday.

"He has received a seven-year sentence," said Bo Kyi, a Myanmar exile who heads the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners - Burma, a group that monitors the prisons in his home country.

The sentence was handed down by a special tribunal sitting inside Insein prison for trials of officials linked to deposed Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, Bo Kyi said.

Myanmar's police chief, Brigadier General Khin Yi, told a press conference in Yangon on Sunday that Win Aung had been sentenced but gave no details.

Sources close to the military said the sentence was handed down about six weeks ago.

Win Aung is believed to have been jailed in January and his trial began in early February.

He was purged in October 2004 along with former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt, who is under house arrest in the capital after receiving a 44-year suspended sentence last year for bribery and corruption.

The junta weeded out Khin Nyunt's allies from top posts. Hundreds of military intelligence officers and people linked to the businesses they ran were arrested and detained in prisons around the country.

While Khin Nyunt once helped crack down on pro-democracy demonstrators, he eventually became the relatively reformist face of the military leadership.

He was the most senior general willing to enter a dialogue with democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi and foreign governments considered him to be one of the most accessible and reasonable figures in the junta hierarchy.

Late last year, the junta extended opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi's house arrest by another six months. The Nobel peace prize winner has already spent more than 10 of the past 16 years in some form of detention.

First Published: Apr 11, 2006 13:08 IST