Saffron Revolution leader 'rearrested'
- Published: 4/12/2012 at 11:22 AM
- Online news:
YANGON - A former Buddhist monk freed from a 63-year jail sentence for his role in Myanmar’s 2007 democracy uprising has been rearrested and sent back to prison.
Buddhist monks march to protest against a crackdown on protesters at the Letpadaung copper mine in Monywa, northwestern Myanmar, in Yangon on Nov 30. Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has publicly criticised the forcible crackdown on protesters at the mine and said that the public needed an explanation of the violence that injured dozens, including Buddhist monks. © 2012 Khin Maung Win/AP
Ashin Gambira, 33, was released earlier this year under a government amnesty for political prisoners, and sat in the front row of the audience in a Yangon university hall just weeks ago as US President Barack Obama cautiously welcomed reforms in Myanmar.
However, Mr Gambira was detained over the weekend and returned to Insein prison in Yangon, according to a report in a British newspaper.
“We are so worried for him,” Mr Gambira’s sister, Ma Lwin told The Independent.
Mr Gambira’s family believe he has been arrested to prevent him joining monks who have been protesting against the expansion of a copper mine, jointly owned by the Myanmar military and a Chinese company, in the northwest of the country.
His mother, Daw Yay, told The Independent that her son had been arrested on Saturday in Yangon, where he had travelled with her to buy medicine.
She said Mr Gambira met the British ambassador, Andrew Heyn, and was scheduled to meet an Amnesty International representative but was arrested and taken to Yangon’s Thanlyin police station before he could keep the appointment.
“They just want to make sure [he does not get involved] with other monks who are now demonstrating over the copper mine,” she said.
Mr Gambira was among the organisers of the Saffron Revolution in 2007, when up to 100,000 monks and ordinary citizens marched through Myanmar’s streets to demand fairer prices and democratic reform.