July 4, 2008 / 6:44 AM / in 10 years

Myanmar jails 4 activists for "no" vote campaign

YANGON (Reuters) - Four Myanmar opposition activists have been jailed for one year for campaigning against a new military-drafted constitution approved in May, an opposition party spokesman said on Friday.

The four members of the National League for Democracy (NLD), the party led by detained Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, were arrested in March for distributing leaflets urging a “no” vote in Rakhine State.

“Our sources have confirmed that the court in Taunggok Township, Rakhine State sentenced the four NLD members to one year in jail on June 27,” NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.

He said the party planned to appeal the ruling against the four — Ko Moe Kyaw, Ko Than Htay, Ko Aung Naing Min and Ko Zaw Naing.

The constitution, part of a seven-step “roadmap to democracy” that is meant to culminate in multi-party elections in 2010, sailed through the two-stage referendum with more than 92 percent of the vote, the government said.

The plebiscite was delayed by two weeks after Cylcone Nargis slammed into the Irrawaddy delta and Yangon, leaving more than 138,000 dead or missing.

Western governments said the process was “fatally flawed” and were dismayed that the military, which has ruled the former Burma since 1962, went ahead with the vote in the middle of the disaster.

The NLD has rejected the charter because it gives the military a quarter of seats in parliament, control of key ministries and the right to suspend the constitution at will.

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