Thursday, 28 August 2008

Arrested Monks Held in Rangoon Detention Center

The Irrawaddy News

Two young monks arrested at their Rangoon monastery on Saturday are being held at Insein interrogation center, according to colleagues.

A senior monk told The Irrawaddy that Burmese police and local authorities arrested the two monks, Damathara and Nandara, at Thardu monastery in Rangoon’s Kyimyindaing Township. He said it wasn’t known why they were arrested.

Meanwhile, the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma)—the AAPP—reported on Tuesday that at least seven detained monks, including U Gambira, leader of the All Burma Monks Association (ABMA), are in poor health. Three had been tortured and stripped of their monks’ robes, the AAPP said.

The AAPP said on Wednesday that 196 monks were among Burma’s more than 2,000 political prisoners.

One prominent prisoner, Ashin Gambira, leader of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance (ABMA), had been disrobed by the authorities and appeared in court on August 20 charged with offences he allegedly committed in the aftermath of the September 2007 uprising, the AAPP said.

Gambira’s lawyer, Aung Thein, told The Irrawaddy that the charges are connected with immigration laws, contacting banned organizations, illegal contacts with foreign organizations through the Internet and other offenses.

Pyinnya Jota, a leading ABMA member who fled to Thailand in February, said: “The military government never respects monks, the sons of Buddha, if they affect the government’s interests.”

Several thousand monks led last September’s massive pro-democracy demonstrations, which were brutally suppressed by the military.

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