Dissident Buddhist monk thrown back in jail weeks after Obama's Burma visit
A dissident Buddhist monk who had been released for President Barack Obama's Burma visit and gave a welcome to democratic reforms introduced in the country, has reportedly been thrown back in jail after over alleged fears that he might protest again.
In autumn 2007 Ashin Gambira was among the organisers of the Saffron Revolution, when up to 100,000 monks and ordinary citizens marched through Burma's streets to call for fairer prices and democratic reforms, and was jailed for 63 years but released earlier this year as part of a government amnesty.
However, Gambira was behind bars again, in what his family say is just the latest incident of harassment by the authorities, The Independent reports.
According to the paper, the plight of Gambira and other political prisoners was recognised by Obama when he visited Burma last month and met several of them. Gambira was also given a front-row seat to hear the US President speak at the University of Yangon.
"I thought it was good. He mentioned a lot of facts but he needs to consider other important factors," he said of Obama's address.
Gambira's family believe he has been detained to prevent him from joining other monks who have been involved in protests against the expansion of a copper-mining project, jointly owned by the Burmese military and a Chinese company, in the north of the country, the paper said.
His mother, Daw Yay, said her son had met the British ambassador, Andrew Heyn, and was due to meet a representative of Amnesty International but was arrested and taken to Rangoon's Thanlyin police station before he could keep the appointment, it added.
"They just want to make sure [he does not get involved] with other monks who are now demonstrating over the copper mine," she said.
A policeman at Thanlyin said Gambira had since been moved to Insein jail but could provide no further information. It is not clear if he is at the jail, the paper concluded.