Burmese Authorities Release Activist Monk After Second Detention

Posted March 8th, 2012 at 4:35 am (UTC-5)
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Relatives of a Buddhist monk who led Burma's 2007 Saffron Revolution say he was released late Wednesday after being questioned overnight by authorities.

Ashin Gambiya's older brother, Aung Kyaw Kyaw, told VOA's Burmese service that Gambiya was questioned about a recent visit to Kachin State in northern Burma. It was the second time Gambiya has been detained since he was included in a mass release of political prisoners in January.

Aung Kyaw Kyaw said the authorities were mainly interested in whether Gambiya had been in contact with ethnic Kachin rebels belonging to the Kachin Independence Army. He said his brother's purpose in visiting the north was to call attention to the plight of war refugees.

The brother told VOA Wednesday that Gambiya had been arrested by members of Burma's military intelligence department (Special Branch) late Tuesday at his sister's home in Rangoon.

The monk was previously sentenced to 68 years in prison for leading pro-democracy protests in 2007.

Burmese citizens began weeks of mass protests against the military in June 2007 before authorities crushed the demonstrations. The United Nations says at least 31 people were killed and thousands more were detained in the crackdown.