AI raps Myanmar for arrests

Bangkok, November 28:

Amnesty International has condemned ongoing “arbitrary” arrests of dissidents in military-run Myanmar two months after the junta’s bloody crackdown on peaceful protests.

The arrests were made despite the junta’s promise to UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari, who visited the country in early November, that there would be no more arrests, the international rights group said in a statement yesterday.

“Two months after the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, arrests continue unabated as part of the Myanmmar government’s systematic suppression of freedom of expression and association, contrary to its claims of a return to normalcy,” said Catherine Baber, the group’s Asia-Pacific Programme Director.

Amnesty said at least 16 people, including Su Su Nway, a prominent labour activist, and Gambira, a Buddhist monk who became a key leader of the massive anti-junta protests in September, had been arrested since early November.

Amnesty said Gambira was reportedly charged with treason.

The 16 arrested include a senior member of detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s oppositon party and several ethnic leaders, it said.