Myanmar protester gets life imprisonment
After the arrests of key protest leaders, Buddhist monks took up their campaign, which snowballed in Sept into the biggest anti-government rallies seen in nearly 20 years.Updated: Apr 04, 2008 18:37 IST
Myanmar's military government has sentenced an activist to life in prison for holding up placards calling for parliament to open and for inflation to be curbed, his lawyer said on Friday.
Ohn Than, believed to be in his 60s, was arrested on August 23 after he stood outside the US embassy in downtown Yangon and silently held up his signs.
"He was sentenced on Wednesday at western district court to life imprisonment and a 1,000-kyat (90 cent) fine," his lawyer Aung Thein told AFP. "His sentence should not be like this," he added.
Ohn Than staged his protest as other activists were beginning to hold demonstrations against a surprise hike in fuel prices.
After the arrests of key protest leaders, Buddhist monks took up their campaign, which snowballed in September into the biggest anti-government rallies seen in nearly 20 years.
Security forces opened fire on the crowds and beat protesters in the street to break up the marches, leaving at least 31 dead, according to the United Nations.
Ohn Than, who is not affiliated with any political party, has been imprisoned at least twice before, and has been taken into custody at least seven other times because of his anti-government activities.
"I will appeal for him in May. He defended himself at previous trials. He claimed that the sentence was unfair because authorities supported another group that protested last year in front of the US embassy," Aung Thein said.
About 30 government supporters marched past the embassy in January 2007 to protest Washington's support for UN action against Myanmar.