Gambira faces extended term in prison

Gambira faces extended term in prison

Gambira, one of the Buddhist monks best known for spearheading the 2007 Saffron Revolution, was on Tuesday brought before Bahan township court in Rangoon to formally hear a trespassing charge levelled against him from an incident in 2012.

The next hearing will be on 4 July.

The fresh charges against the former monk come just three days before his due date for release; he had almost completed a six-month sentence on an immigration charge.

Gambira, now known by his layman name Nyi Nyi Lwin, had previously sought treatment in Thailand for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, after suffering torture and harsh treatment in prison while he was serving a 65-year term for his role in the 2007 uprising.

He was granted amnesty in 2012, but rearrested in January this year by authorities in Mandalay for allegedly crossing a border illegally, apparently when he returned to Burma to apply for a new passport. He was sentenced to six months in prison under the Immigration Law, and was waiting to be released on 1 July.

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His older sister, Lwin Lwin, confirmed to DVB that Nyi Nyi Lwin was transferred from Mandalay’s Obo Prison on 27 May to Rangoon’s Insein Prison, and subsequently told he was to be charged for a previous trespassing incident dating back to 2012, when he allegedly broke into a monastery that had been shut down by police.

In the days and weeks after he was released from prison on amnesty four years ago, activist monk Gambira apparently sought shelter in monasteries as he had nowhere else to stay. Charges of squatting and vandalism were also leveled at him.

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