Burmese monk Ashin Gambira remains in prison: mother Skip to main content

Burmese monk Ashin Gambira remains in prison: mother

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Daw Yay, the mother of Buddhist monk Ashin Gambira, one of the leaders of the “Saffron Revolution,” said on Wednesday that he was still in Katha Prison. She received the news from the Katha Prison chief after calling him on the telephone. 

Amnesty International (AI) said in a statement on Wednesday that among those released under the presidential amnesty was Ashin Gambira, 32. Mizzima contacted his mother and learned the news that he is still being held. 

Because of rumours saying he would be freed from the prison in Sagaing Region, Daw Yay, who lives in Pakokku, had transferred 50,000 kyat (about US$ 70) to Katha Prison authorities as transportation expenses for Ashin Gambira. 

“I heard he was not released. Word has gotten around that he will be released, that’s why I transferred money for him,” Daw Yay told Mizzima

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Katha Prison chief Gokyinpa, who is an ethnic Chin, answered Daw Yay’s call, according to Daw Yay, and gave her the information. 

It is expected that prisoners will be released in three batches. A total of 184 political prisoners are believed to have been included in the first batch of prisoners released across the country on Wednesday, according to opposition party National League for Democracy central executive committee member Nai Nai.

A total of more than 6,300 prisoners including 300 political prisoners will reportedly be granted freedom under the presidential amnesty, according to a source close to the Directorate of Prison. Meanwhile, President Thein Sein’s four-day official visit to India started on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, although AI welcomed the amnesty in its statement, it said, “The release of at least 120 political prisoners in Burma today is a minimum first step.” 

“Authorities must immediately and unconditionally release all remaining prisoners of conscience,” the statement said. 

It is estimated that there are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Burma. If only a small number of political prisoners are released, “It is not consistent with the authorities’ recent promises of political reform in Burma,” said the AI statement. 

Norwegian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Espen Barth Eide, who met with the Burmese Lower House speaker and Burmese foreign affairs minister in Naypyitaw, told the media that prisoners would be released in two batches. 

Daw Yay, 62, has four sons and two daughters. Ashin Gambira is her fourth child. Her eldest son, Aung Kyaw Kyaw, is also a political prisoner who is being held in Taunggyi Prison in Shan State. 

Daw Yay told Mizzima that the Kyaukphyu Prison warden informed her that her fifth child, Aung Ko Ko Lwin, was released from Kyaukphyu Prison on Wednesday under the presidential amnesty. 

Regarding Ashin Gambria, she said, “I have to wait until tomorrow to know [whether he is released or not].”

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