And given de facto life sentences:

A Burmese court has sentenced 14 prominent dissidents to 65 years’ imprisonment each for leading peaceful protests against a fuel price rise that spiralled into the widespread Buddhist monk-led demonstrations crushed by the military junta last year.

The sentencing to de facto life imprisonment of the second tier of leaders of the 88 Generation students was described by one diplomat as “political revenge” against activists who helped shine a global spotlight on the political repression and economic stagnation in military-ruled Burma.

“This is not a criminal justice system,” said a Bangkok-based western diplomat, who monitors developments in Burma. “It smacks very much of political revenge.”

The sentencing of the activists – and, separately, a prominent blogger to 20 years in prison – comes as Burma’s junta is gearing up for 2010 elections, which the generals insist will usher in an era of so-called “disciplined democracy”.

(UPDATE: It’s not the complaining about fuel prices that bothers the junta, of course, it’s the clamoring for democracy.)

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