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Junta 'lying' over Myanmar deaths

  • Story Highlights
  • Crackdown bloodier than government admits, Human Rights Watch says
  • Military junta acknowledged 10 deaths but there are reports of hundreds
  • Group renews call for tough steps to be taken against Myanmar's ruling junta
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NEW YORK (CNN) -- The September crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators by the Myanmar military junta was bloodier than the government admitted to, Human Rights Watch said in a report released Friday.

"The crackdown ... is far from over," said Human Rights Watch Asia Director Brad Adams. "Harsh repression continues, and the government is still lying about the extent of the deaths and detentions."

According to the group, the claims in its 140-page report are based on more than 100 interviews with eyewitnesses in Myanmar and Thailand.

Myanmar's military junta has acknowledge 10 deaths during the demonstrations and crackdown, but there are reports that hundreds. In mid-October, the government admitted to detaining more than 2,900 people, but said most had been released.

"The report documented the killing of 20 people in (Yangon), but Human Rights Watch believes that the death toll there was much higher, and that hundreds remain in detention," the group said in a statement. Human Rights Watch said it was unable to gather information on killings and detentions from other cities and towns where demonstrations took place.

In late November, U.N. envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro said as many as 110 were believed to have been killed during the demonstrations -- including 40 Buddhist monks.

Video smuggled out of the secretive country has shown unarmed protesters being beaten by government security forces, and one man -- a Japanese journalist -- shot and killed at close range.

Human Rights Watch renewed its call for tough steps to be taken against Myanmar's ruling junta.

"It's time for the world to impose a UN arms embargo and financial sanctions, to hurt (Myanmar's) leaders until they make real changes," said Adams.

"Countries like China, India and Thailand have the responsibility to take action to help hold the generals accountable and to end this long nightmare of military repression." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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