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U.S. Condemns Jailing Of Pro-Democracy Activists In Myanmar

The United States on Wednesday condemned the harsh sentences handed down to over two-dozen political dissidents and pro-democracy activists in military-ruled Myanmar.

"The United States strongly condemns the Burmese regime's harsh sentencing of at least 30 political activists to between two and 65 years in prison," State Department spokesman Robert Wood said, referring to Myanmar by the country's old colonial name.

"These brave democracy activists are peaceful citizens whose only crime was to challenge the regime's illegitimate rule," he added.

Wood also appealed to Myanmar's military to stop arresting and harassing civilians "for peacefully exercising their internationally recognized human rights," and demanded the immediate release of some 2,000 political prisoners believed to be held in the country's prisons.

On Tuesday, a closed court in Burma had sentenced 30 pro-democracy activists to jail sentences ranging from 12 1/2 years to 65 years for their role in organizing an anti-government demonstration last year in the military ruled country.

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