Monday, 09 December 2019

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Campaign calls for candlelit vigils for U Gambira

Activists around the world are being urged to mark International Human Rights Day on Monday by lighting a candle for detained Saffron Revolution leader U Gambira.

Buddhist-monk-Gambira“Free U Gambira! Free all political prisoners in Burma!” wrote global rights group Avaaz.

A campaign on Facebook calls on human rights activists and supporters to light a candle for U Gambira and all political prisoners in Burma.

“It is not clear why the authorities have decided to press charges against U Gambira more than nine months after the alleged offenses occurred,” said Amnesty International. “There are credible accounts that U Gambira was subjected to torture after his arrest in 2007 and endured ill-treatment in prison between 2008 and his release on Jan. 13, 2012, leaving his health in a fragile condition.”

The US Embassy in Rangoon echoed the activists’ sentiments, releasing a statement last week which read: “We’re monitoring reports of U Gambira’s detention. We urged the government of Burma to be fully transparent and follow due process of law.”

Now known by his birth name of Nyi Nyi Lwin since he left the Buddhist monkhood, the former activist monk who led was imprisoned for his role in leading protests during the Saffron Revolution in 2007 was rearrested by police in Rangoon on December 1 and is currently being detained in Rangoon’s notorious Insein Prison.

His mother, Daw Ray, told Mizzima last week that she believes her son was arrested by the authorities because they fear he will play a pivotal role in any further protests that may break out in the wake of a violent police crackdown at the Monywa copper mine site in Sagaing Division.

“Uzin [Ashin Gambira] has already finished participating in political activities through the monasteries,” she said. “He is not a part of the protest movement this time. It may be that they arrested him to ensure that he did not become involved.”

She reiterated that Ashin Gambira recently travelled to Rangoon solely for the purpose of getting treatment for his health problems.

For more background:
The Kachin’s last stand
Since October this year, Burma has been in a state of civil war, with fighting between Burmese military and armed ethnic rebels. The ruling junta started a crackdown on these armed groups.

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