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Burmese authorities rearrest key dissident leader of 2007 revolution

Ashin Gambira
Ashin Gambira

Mizzima News

(Mizzima/IFEX) - 3 December 2012 - Ashin Gambira, a revered Buddhist monk who came to prominence during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, was rearrested on Saturday evening, according to his mother Daw Ray.

She told Mizzima she believes her son was detained 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 last week.

"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.

"His health has severely deteriorated because of the torture and persecution he suffered in prison," his mother said. "He suffers headaches almost all the time."

A close friend told Mizzima that the station officer and police personnel from Thingyangyun police station went to Ashin Gambira's friend's house in Hlaing Township where he was staying, and they arrested him there. He was then allegedly transferred to Thanlyin police station before being moved to Insein Prison.

Ashin Gambira, whose real name is Nyi Nyi Lwin, was first arrested in 2007 for organizing protests during the Saffron Revolution uprising, and was given a 68-year sentence.

However, he was released in January 2012 on a presidential pardon.

He disrobed and became a layman on April 17, 2012 - New Year's Day on the Burmese lunar calendar.

His mother said that he is now suffering from severe brain and neurology diseases, but no doctor dare give him treatment for fear of reprisals by the authorities. Daw Ray said that only his personal friend, a doctor, will treat him.

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