Friday, March 13, 2009

Monk’s Family Members Sentenced in Reprisal

The Irrawaddy News

Six family members of Ashin Gambira, a well-know organizer in the 2007 monk-led pro-democracy uprising, were each sentenced to five years imprisonment on Thursday (12 Mar'09) in the North Dagon Myothit court, according to family members.

Khin Thu Htay, a sister of Ashin Gambira, told The Irrawaddy on Friday that Aung Ko Ko Lwin, 27, a brother of Ashin Gambira, and five family members were charged under Immigration Act 13/1.

Aung Ko Ko Lwin; Moe Htet Hlym, Gambira’s brother-in-law; and four cousins, Kyaw Myo Seck, Hlaing Myo, Soe Lwin and Ye Nyunt, all received prison terms.

“They didn’t do any anti-military or anti-government activities, and they don’t know politics,” said Khin Thu Htay, whose husband was among the group.

Her husband, Moe Htet Hlym, was arrested on September 9, 2008, after he launched balloons in Rangoon to mark the one-year anniversary of the September uprising.

Khin Thu Htay said the military government made the charges in reprisal for Ashin Gambira’s activities.

Ashin Gambira organized monks across the country to boycott alms offered by security forces that brutally suppressed peaceful demonstrations on September 5, 2007, in Pakokkuk Township.

Ashin Gambira was arrested along with his father by military intelligence officers while hiding in Sintgyaing Township and subsequently disrobed by authorities without consultation with the Sangha institution.

He was sentenced to 68 years imprisonment in November 2008 by the Insein Prison special court under charges generally having to do with threatening the stability of the state. Ashin Gambira is now in Hkamti Prison in Sagaing Division.

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