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Burmese Generals Neutralise Opponents

Burmese Generals Neutralise Opponents

A Burmese freelance video reporter has been handed a 20-year prison sentence, bringing to 13 the number of imprisoned journalists and bloggers in Burma today.

Hla Hla Win was first arrested on 11 September 2009. In October she received a seven-year sentence for possessing an illegally imported motorcycle. When the junta learned she was associated with an exiled news organisation, she was charged and found guilty of violating the Electronics Act, which prohibits the transmission of information critical of the military regime via the Internet. On 31 December 2009, Hla Hla Win had 20 years added to her original seven-year sentence.

It is now apparent that the junta is intensifying its harassment and imprisonment of the opposition in the run-up to planned elections this year. Burma's ruling generals have a poor track record when it comes to free and fair elections. In 1990 Aung San Suu Kyi and her NLD party won a landslide victory, which the junta chose to ignore. Ironically the architects of the 1990 election are the very same untrustworthy generals who have engineered the sham election scheduled for 2010.

To ensure a favourable result this time round, the generals are neutralising opponents. Currently 2,177 political dissidents are serving lengthy sentences in Burma's notorious labour camps. Aung San Suu Kyi is also under lock and key, thus ensuring this year's general elections are carried out without any significant opposition.

ENDS

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