(Irrawaddy) A new Human Rights Watch report dramatically showcased the rise in political prisoners in Burma one day after anti-sanction
Sen Jim Webb met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The 35-page report, “Burma’s Forgotten Prisoners,” features dozens of prominent political activists, Buddhist monks, labor activists, journalists and artists arrested since peaceful political protests in 2007 and sentenced to draconian prison terms after unfair trials.
Sen Jim Webb met with Clinton on Tuesday to present his views on lifting US sanctions and engaging the junta.
At a news conference in Washington on Wednesday upon the release of the report, US Sen Barbara Boxer said, “The Burmese government should not be rewarded for its bad behavior.”
While Boxer did not directly refer to the views of Webb, who last month became the first US lawmaker in a decade to visit Burma, it was clear that she did not support her Senate colleague’s approach.
Boxer said the junta is intent on ruling Burma with an iron fist and a disregard for basic human rights and democracy.
Webb, who met Sen-Gen Than Shwe and Aung San Suu Kyi during his trip, has been advocating a more open US policy towards Burma.
It is understood that Webb shared his thoughts with Clinton and details of his meetings with Than Shwe and Suu Kyi. The State Department did not comment on the meeting.
In the report, Human Rights Watch said that Burma’s military government should release all political prisoners.
“Burma’s generals are planning elections next year that will be a sham if their opponents are in prison,” said Tom Malinowski, the Washington advocacy director at Human Rights Watch.
“Despite recent conciliatory visits by UN and foreign officials, the military government is actually increasing the number of critics it is throwing into its squalid prisons,” he said.
Boxer said: “We have all seen what this military dictatorship is capable of: we have heard the stories and seen too many images of bloody crackdowns in the streets, of protestors being beaten, of prisoners being tortured, of basic necessities being denied to the Burmese people in the face of natural disaster and tragedy.”
[[rokdownload menuitem=”137″ downloaditem=”101″ direct_download=”false”]Download Full Report[/rokdownload]] [[rokdownload menuitem=”137″ downloaditem=”100″ direct_download=”false”]Download Press Release[/rokdownload]] [readon1 url=”http://irrawaddy.org/article.php?art_id=16804″]Source: Irrawaddy Media[/readon1]