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Myanmar court rejects appeal by jai

Myanmar court rejects appeal by jailed British democracy activist
AP, Rangoon, 19 August 2000. A court in northern Myanmar has rejected
an appeal by a British democracy activist against a 17-year sentence he is
serving in a prison in the country's eastern Shan State, legal sources said

James Mawdsley, 27, of Lancashire, was jailed in September last year after
his arrest in a Myanmar town at the northern Thai border for illegal entry and
handing out pamphlets urging people to protest Myanmar's military regime.

Mawdsley's defence lawyer Kyi Win submitted an appeal for pardon on Aug. 15
and it was rejected by a court in Mandalay, Myanmar's second largest city that
lies 560 kilometers (350 miles) north of the capital Yangon, the sources said.

An earlier appeal was rejected in June by a lower court in the town of Lashio
in Shan State.

The British Embassy in Yangon was not immediately available for comment as
it was closed Saturday.

Mawdsley, who also holds an Australian passport, was arrested in Myanmar
twice before, and in 1998 he served 99 days of a seven-year sentence before
being pardoned on condition he not return to Myanmar, also known as Burma.
After his release he said he had been tortured.

He is now imprisoned in the remote northeastern town of Keng Tung, 630
kilometers (390 miles) northeast of Yangon.

A British Embassy official who visited him one month ago reported that
Mawdsley ''was fine and in good shape.'' Embassy staff make monthly visits.

Hundreds of political prisoners languish in the harsh conditions of 
Myanmar's jails,
only recently opened to inspections by the International Red Cross.

Several foreigners have been detained in the past few years for nonviolent 
against Myanmar's unelected regime, but Mawdsley is the only one jailed for an
extensive period.