Myanmar jails opposition MPs ahead of UN envoy visit

A Myanmar court handed 15-year jail terms to two senior opposition politicians on the eve of a visit by a U.N. human rights envoy, opposition offcial said.

Myanmar jails opposition MPs ahead of UN envoy visit

A Myanmar court handed 15-year jail terms to two senior opposition politicians on the eve of a visit by a U.N. human rights envoy, the opposition National League for Democracy (NLD) said on Saturday.

NLD members Nyi Bu and Tin Min Htut were convicted of various charges on Friday in a court session held at the high-security Insein prison in Yangon without lawyers or family members present, NLD spokesman Nyan Win told Reuters.

Both politicians won seats in parliament when the NLD scored a landslide win in a 1990 general election. The ruling military junta ignored the results.

"They did not get any legal assistance from their lawyers at all ... I can't imagine how the hearing was conducted," Nyan Win said.

The two men were arrested in August after they wrote an open letter to the United Nations criticising the ruling military regime's seven-step roadmap toward democratic political reforms.

The court's decision, not reported by state-run media, came a day before the arrival of U.N. special rapporteur for human rights, Tomas Ojea Quintana, who hopes to meet political prisoners and detained opposition leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

"We do welcome Mr. Quintana as the human rights situation here is getting worse and worse," the NLD spokesman said.

During his 5-day visit, Ojea will try to assess human rights developments in Myanmar after a previous trip last summer, the United Nations said in a statement.

Ojea hopes to meet military officials to discuss the implementation of several human rights practices which he has recommended be in place before elections due in 2010.

Last week U.N. envoy Ibrahim Gambari failed to make headway in efforts to bring the former Burma's military junta and Suu Kyi's NLD closer to talks on reform.

Gambari met Suu Kyi, who insisted the 1990 election must be the basis for any settlement. The most senior junta official he met was Prime Minister Thein Sein, number four in the military hierarchy.

Reuters

Last Mod: 14 Şubat 2009, 15:24
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