Monday, February 2, 2009

Monk dies in prison - Ahnanda

By Myint Maung

New Delhi (Mizzima) – A revered Buddhist Monk, Ahnanda, 62, who was arrested and imprisoned for participating in the 2007 monk-led protest by reciting Metta Sutra, died in the prison last month, sources said.

Ahnanda a monk from Thitsa Tharaphu monastery in Rangoon's North Okklapa Townhsip, died while he was serving his four years and three months prison term in Insein prison. He had been into monk hood for 40 years.

"The prison authorities informed North Okkalapa police station about his death, which in turn conveyed the message to the Township Sangha (monk) organization. The Sangha informed the Thitsa Tharaphu monastery where he lived," a source close to the relatives of the Monk said.

A Thailand-based documentation section of the Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners in Burma (AAPP-B) also confirmed his death saying the monk might have suffered severe tortures.

"As far as we know, he died on 22 December 2008, while he was serving his prison sentence in Insein prison," Min Min of the AAPP-B said, adding that he suffered a fatal stroke.

While taking part in the 2007 protest by reciting Metta Sutra on the streets of Rangoon, a total of 14 monks and nuns from the Thitsa Tharaphu monastery including Ahnanda were arrested on January 18 last year.

They were charged in three counts, including insulting the religion and distributing pornographic books by the North Okkalapa Township Court on 24 October 2008.

They were denied access to legal counsel at the trial court and sentenced to four years and three months in prison each by North Okkalapa Township Court.

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