Call for release of U Gambira

By NJ Thakuria

Guwahati ( Narinjara)

21 January, 2016

U Gambira

Parliamentarians from various southeast Asian nations have raised concern at the re-arrest of pro-democracy leader U Gambira by the  Burmese authority on alleged immigration offences. They also called on authorities to ensure an immediate and safe release of the former monk, who had sacrificed a great deal to support the Burmese people’s fight for democracy.

Gambira was arrested again on 19 January at a Mandalay hotel after returning  from Thailand to apply for a new passport. He has reportedly been charged with entering the country illegally and faces up to five years in prison.

“This arrest seems to be on trumped up charges and is most likely politically motivated,” said Son Chhay, vice-chair of ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR).

The Cambodian Parliamentarian also added that as Parliamentarians with commitments to democratic values, he has to raise voices with concern for Gambira. “It’s our responsibility to seek his release, and we call on Parliamentarians in Burma (Myanmar) to do the same,” stated Chhay.

Known as a key leader of the 2007 Saffron Revolution in Burma, which resulted in jailing many protesters, Gambira  was also sentenced in 2008 to 68 years in prison for his role in the movement.

He was later released in an amnesty in January 2012 but has spent much of the past few years in Thailand after complaining of harassment by security officials in Myanmar.