Burma’s military rulers have stepped up suppression of political opponents ahead of the country’s elections in 2010, an opposition party spokesman said Wednesday.
Nyan Win, of the National League for Democracy, said many party members arrested since last year were now facing trials, with at least 30 having been sentenced to at least 2 1/2 years in prison between September and early this month.
The regime has increased pressure on opponents and critics “so that they can manipulate the elections any way they like,” he said.
The junta has announced elections in 2010 as part of a “roadmap to democracy” that critics have slammed as a sham designed to cement the military’s power. A military-backed constitution was approved in a national referendum in May, but the party charges that the vote was unfair.
International human rights groups say the junta now holds more than 2,100 political prisoners, compared with nearly 1,200 in June, 2007.
Among those detained is Nobel Peace Prize laureate and NLD leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest for more than 12 of the past 19 years.
Nyan Win said party members Soe Kywe, Khin Aye and Myint Thein-as well as a regime critic, Soe Kywe-were given 2 1/2 year prison sentences Monday for allegedly “disturbing tranquility.”
The spokesman said Hline Aye and San Pwint, two other party members, were jailed for the same term on September 22 for similar offenses.