BANGKOK (Reuters) - Ninety-six activists have been arrested in Myanmar since November despite the junta’s pledge to a U.N. special envoy that the crackdown would stop, Amnesty International said on Friday.
Many of those arrested were trying to send evidence of the bloody suppression of anti-junta protests last September, in which at least 31 people were killed, to the outside world.
“Four months on from the violent crackdown on peaceful demonstrators, rather than stop its unlawful arrests the Myanmar government has actually accelerated them,” Amnesty said in a report.
After his last visit to Myanmar in early November, U.N. special envoy Ibrahim Gambari said he had received assurances the crackdown which outraged the world and triggered tougher Western sanctions would stop.
But the arrests continued, “clearly showing that the government’s chief priority is to silence its citizens who would hold them to account”, Amnesty said.
At least 15 protesters and their supporters had been sentenced to prison terms since the start of November, Amnesty said. It had also received reports of detainees being tortured.
Amnesty said at least 700 people arrested in the crackdown remained behind bars and more than 80 were unaccounted for “and are likely the victims of enforced disappearance”.
The regime said in December only 80 of the nearly 3,000 arrested were still detained for questioning.
Reporting by Darren Schuettler; Editing by Michael Battye and Sanjeev Miglani