Thursday, March 10, 2016

U Gambira: Myanmar's dissident monk needs to be freed with other political prisoners

Around nine years ago, U Gambira was condemned by the courts of Myanmar’s former junta to more than six decades in jail for offenses associated with free speech and protest activity. This extreme sentence, while lawful, was in truth a punishment for having led the most important protest movement in a generation.
The pro-democracy demonstrations, dubbed the “Saffron Revolution” in the West, were a rare moment of hope in the dark days of Myanmar’s military dictatorship; one that would soon be crushed with extreme brutality.
Last month, a Myanmar sentenced three Muslim and Hindu interfaith activists to two years with hard labor after activists raised fears over a campaign against them by Buddhist nationalists.
The two men and one woman from the central city of Mandalay were arrested in July 2015 and accused of crossing Myanmar's frontier with after they posted pictures of themselves at the border on social media, according to Thein Than Oo, a lawyer representing two of the defendants.
Fortify Rights has slammed the trial as "politically motivated" and called for the release of the three, who are all members of a Mandalay-based interfaith peace network.

In a statement earlier this month the watchdog said the arrests came after a campaign against Zaw Zaw Latt on social media and in a journal linked to the Buddhist nationalist monk movement Ma Ba Tha, whose anti-Muslim rhetoric has gained in influence in recent years.

I pray and hope that with the NLD coming to power in few days, Gambira along with many Muslims rotting in the notorious prisons of Myanmar for no reason but for being a minority demanding rights to live as human beings in the country of their birth will see freedom.
You can read his story by clicking here.

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