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U Gambira's hearing postponed

Feb 6, 2008 (DVB), All-Burmese Monks Alliance leader U Gambira, who has been detained since 4 November for his role in instigating monk-led protests in September last year, has had his court hearing postponed.

U Gambira was due to appear in court on Monday to face charges under section 17/1 of the Unlawful Associations Act.

U Gambira's older sister Ma Khin Thu Htay said she found out that his hearing had been cancelled when she went to visit him in Insein prison on Monday.

"It wasn't clear whether they are going to extend his remand period, so I asked the Insein prison special ward administration office, but they told to ask the main prison authorities," Khin Thu Htay explained.

"So I asked there, but they referred me to the central prison administration department, and when I went there they told me that the case is being handled by the special police, so I should go and ask them."

U Gambira's brother, Ko Aung Kyaw Kyaw, was also due to appear in court on Monday on the same charges, and his hearing was also cancelled.

Ma Khin Thu Htay said that U Gambira looked thinner, but seemed otherwise healthy, and was still practising his daily activities as a monk, despite being made to wear prison regulation clothing rather than his robes.

"Both of them were fine , U Gambira looked a little thinner, but he said it's because he hasn't been sleeping well at night; he said he has been reading and meditating a lot."

The lawyers U Nyi Nyi Lwin and U Pho Phyu will be defending U Gambira and his brother when their case comes to court.

Under section 17/1 of the Unlawful Associations Act, they could each face a three-year prison sentence.

Reporting by Aye Nai


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