Prison official Gambira transferred

Gambira transferred to Hkamti prison: Prison official
Thursday, 22 January 2009 19:47

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Detained veteran Monk Gambira, who was allegedly staging a hunger strike in Mandalay prison, has been transferred to the remote Hkamti prison, his family members said citing prison officials.

A prison official told his mother Daw Ray, who tried to visit Gambira on Wednesday at Obo prison in Mandalay, that he had been transferred to Hkamti prison in Sagaing Division, about 300 miles north of Mandalay, on January 17.

According to the prison officials, he was transferred to another prison only after a medical check-up was conducted.

However, the prison officials refused to answer questions about the hunger strike believed to have been staged by Gambira, who is 29-years-old.

The child soldier-turned-political enthusiast monk was charged with 16 cases in the end of last year, including insulting religion and committing crime against public tranquility. He was sentenced to a total of 68 years in prison.

News about Gambira’s hunger strike appeared, while he was on his way to Hkamti prison.

Gambira joined the monk-led September 2007 protests, while he was pursuing his ‘Dhamasariya’ religious studies. In the protest, thousands of people and monks took to the streets and demanded political solution through negotiation and dialogue by reciting Metta Sutra. He led this protest.

In the protest, popularly known as the Saffron Revolution later, at least 30 people were shot dead by the armed forces. After the protest was brutally suppressed, he had to flee from the scene and was on the run. But, he was finally arrested by the authority in Singai Township, Mandalay Division on November 4, 2007.

The military regime also sentenced his elder brother Aung Kyaw Kyaw to 14 years of imprisonment and his younger brother Aung Ko Ko Lwin and brother-in-law Moe Htet are still facing trial in Insein prison, charged with illegal border crossing cases.

Centennial birthday of Myanmar’s former UNchief to be marked

DPA- Yangon – Relatives of Myanmar’s former United Nations secretary general U Thant were scheduled to commemorate the centennial birthday of the controversial Burmese national hero on Thursday. The birthday anniversary celebration was to be organized Thursday evening by the U Thant Institute and Aye Aye Thant, daughter of U Thant, who is also the president of the institute.
Opposition politicians, UN representatives, foreign diplomats and government officials have been invited to the event, sources said.
According to the programme, Bishow Parajuli, the resident UN humanitarian coordinator, will read out a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the ceremony.
Such events require official permission in Myanmar, which is ruled by a military junta. The permission to hold a party commemorating U Thant’s centennial anniversary came amid unconfirmed reports that UN special envoy to Myanmar Ibrahim Gambari has planning to visit the country before the end of January.
Gambari’s last visit in August, 2008, proved a disappointment, as he was denied meetings with both junta chief Senior General Than Shwe and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been under house arrest since May, 2003.
The UN has made little progress in pushing the junta towards freeing Suu Kyi and over 2,000 political prisoners and introducing democratic reforms.
U Thant, one of the few Burmese to reach international stature, remains a controversial figure in military-controlled Myanmar, also known as Burma.
U Thant served as the third secretary general of the United Nations, from 1961 to 1971. He was widely credited for his successful efforts for defusing Cuba’s Missile Crisis and ending Congo’s civil war during his term.
Born in Pantanaw town, in the Irrawaddy delta region, on January 22, 1909, U Thant died on November 25, 1974, while living abroad in self-exile.
When his body was brought back to Yangon, then called Rangoon, for burial former military dictator General Ne Win refused it national honours.
University students snatched U Thant’s coffin as it was heading for an ordinary burial on December 5, 1974, and took it to the Rangoon University Student Union grounds, turning the funeral into an anti-Ne Win uprising.
On 11 December 1974, troops stormed the university campus, dug out U Thant’s coffin and reburied it at the current mausoleum at the foot of famous Shwedagon pagoda. Many student were killed in the incident, marking one of the first serious uprisings against Ne Win.
The current military regime remains loyal to the memory of Ne Win, whose coup in 1962 overthrew the country’s first elected prime minister U Nu an,centennial-birthday-of-myanmars-former-unchief-to-be-marked.html

AIDS Patients Forced to Leave Monastery

Authorities have forced 35 people living with HIV/AIDS to leave a monastery in Rangoon where they were receiving free treatment, according to sources close to the monastery.

A caregiver at the monastery told The Irrawaddy that on Tuesday, local authorities ordered the patients to move to the Wai Bar Gi Infectious Diseases Hospital in Rangoon’s North Okkalapa Township. However, only 26 of the patients went to the hospital, the source said.

The patients, including two young children, were from various parts of Burma and were too poor to go to a hospital, the source said. He added that some were receiving antiretroviral (ARV) drugs at the monastery, but were not in such serious condition that they needed to be hospitalized.

Another source said that authorities inspecting construction on an extension of the monastery told the abbot that the unauthorized “guests” were not permitted to stay. The abbot now fears that his monastery will be shut down, the source added.

In October 2007, following the monk-led protests known as the Saffron Revolution, the authorities raided Maggin Monastery in Rangoon’s Thingangyun Township and expelled its resident monks. The monastery, which also provided free healthcare to people with HIV/AIDS, was suspected of harboring social activists.

The abbot of the monastery, U Indaka, was sentenced to more than 20 years imprisonment for his involvement in the Saffron Revolution.

A New Government for Burma

Exiled democrats are planning a better future.
By SEIN WIN | From today’s Wall Street Journal Asia


The Burmese junta’s disgraceful nonresponse to Cyclone Nargis last year called international attention to the direct human consequences of repressive rule in the Southeast Asian country. Since then, Burma’s economic plight has only worsened. It is time for the political opposition abroad to present a broader, more coherent alternative for the Burmese people.

To this end, the legitimately elected representatives of the people of Burma — the Members of Parliament from the 1990 elections — are meeting in Dublin over the next few days to elect a new government-in-exile. The convention delegates are motivated by a sense that change in the culture of Burma’s exiled opposition is needed. All are aware that the plight of Burma’s people can no longer be tolerated; the status quo cannot be continued.

This move is a huge step forward for the multiethnic, multicultural Burmese people, who have never enjoyed a government that gave all groups an equal voice. A new government-in-exile should also provide comfort to Burma’s neighbors, who worry about civil unrest when the junta falls.

We sketched out our core beliefs in this month’s edition of the Far Eastern Economic Review, a sister publication of this newspaper. In Dublin, we call for an inclusive process that will lead to an interim constitution, taking into account the interests of all stakeholders in Burma. We also call for the release of all political prisoners; for the lifting of restrictions on liberties such as free speech and free association; and for an agreement on a realistic timetable for free and fair elections in Burma.

We have a vision of a nation-building process for Burma that will create a federal union with an appropriate relationship between the central government and the states and regions, ensuring, for example, the equitable distribution of revenue from natural resources. We support free trade. continue

Detained female activist suffers miscarriage in prison

New Delhi (Mizzima) – Detained pregnant woman activist, Kathy Aung, has reportedly suffered a miscarriage in Mandalay’s Oh Bo prison, and with negligible care from the prison authorities, she is losing a lot of blood, family members said.

Bo Bo, brother of Kathy Aung, who on January 21 met his sister, told Mizzima that Kathy Aung had a miscarriage in the Oh Bo prison. The prison authorities have not taken her to hospital, but she is being visited by doctors.

“She is still losing blood from the miscarriage and is also suffering from skin diseases,” Bo Bo, who along with his mother Thida Aung, visited his sister, told Mizzima.

Tun Tun, husband of Kathy Aung and a member of the All Burma Federation of Student Unions (ABFSU), who is on the run from authorities, told Mizzima from his hiding place that his wife was in the sixth month of pregnancy.

“When she was arrested, she was already in the first month of pregnancy,” Tun Tun said.

Kathy Aung, 23, was arrested in September and charged with two counts each, under the Associating with Illegal Organizations and Emergency Immigration Acts and sentenced to 26 years of imprisonment on November 24, 2008 by the Oh Bo prison court.

However, her husband said, she was innocent and that the authorities had arrested her on his behalf.

“She is not involved in politics. All she does is tailoring at home but they [authorities] arrested her on my behalf,” Tun Tun told Mizzima from his hiding place.