Secret trials that were held in Rangoon, Burma's Insein prison have led to the conviction of eight Shan political leaders.
Hkun Htun Oo is chairman of the United Nationalities Alliance, Burma's foremost coalition of pro-democracy ethnic parties, and the head of the Shan Nationalities League of Democracy. He was sentenced to fifty-three years and two life sentences. Seven other Burmese pro-democracy activists, including Hso Ten of the Shan State Peace Council, also received long terms in prison. They join some one-thousand-one hundred Burmese who remain detained for the peaceful expression of their political views.
This year, Burmese National League for Democracy General Secretary and 1991 Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi spent her sixtieth birthday under house arrest. She was detained in May 2003 after thugs affiliated with Burma's military junta attacked her convoy. Aung San Suu Kyi has spent much of the past sixteen years under detention in Burma.
U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli says that the detentions and secret trials in Burma "demonstrate that the junta's so-called 'Roadmap to Disciplined Democracy' is neither credible nor inclusive." The United States, says Mr. Ereli, calls on the Burmese junta to release all "political prisoners immediately and unconditionally, and to allow their full participation in a meaningful political dialogue leading to genuine national reconciliation and the establishment of democracy."
The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.