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Activist questions case against monk

Says government should consider the cost of prosecuting activist Shin Gambira reporter, Mandalay

February 21, 2012

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A legal activist today said the government should consider the impact on human rights in pushing ahead with its legal case against Shin Gambira, the monk who helped spearhead a revolt against the country’s military government in 2007. State-run daily newspaper the New Light of Myanmar said Gambira “will face legal action” in connection with his alleged illegal occupation of a monastery closed by the government and for breaking into two others. The report added that legal action was requested by senior monks whom Gambira had chastised for failing to support jailed monks, and that recent reform efforts required the government to preserve the rule of law. U Myint Thwin, who is secretary general of the National Democratic Force’ s Central Executive Committee, said the government should consider the cost of prosecuting Gambira. “Local authorities should consider the value of his humanity first before thinking about legal action. And they should also consider the protection of his human rights.” The lawyer, who has previously advocated on behalf of political prisoners and victims of land confiscation until he was suspended from practice last year by the Supreme Court in Naypyidaw, said that every citizen needs to understand their rights under the 2008 constitution and in view of recent reforms taken by the country’s nominal civilian government. “Now we have a constitution and parliamentary sessions. The government can’t do whatever it wants, as it did before under the military government.” Gambira was released from prison on January 13 as part of a general amnesty. Sources in Mandalay said his current whereabouts remain unknown and that it is still unclear how authorities will proceed.
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