News / Asia

Leading Burmese Monk Detained, Facing Charges

Shin Gambira, 32, a monk who helped lead protests, detained and recently released, attends a ceremony of 'Pray for Peace and Religious Unity' at a church in Yangon, Burma, January 16, 2012.
Shin Gambira, 32, a monk who helped lead protests, detained and recently released, attends a ceremony of 'Pray for Peace and Religious Unity' at a church in Yangon, Burma, January 16, 2012.

A leading dissident monk in Burma is facing new legal problems just weeks after he was released from prison.

Burma's state media, New Light, says Shin Gambira stands accused of illegally "squatting" in one monastery  in the country's main city, Rangoon, that had been sealed by authorities and then breaking into two others.

Gambira played a key role in the mass protest in 2007 that was known as the "Saffron Revolution." The Burmese military forcefully put down the protest, named for the color of robes worn by monks who led it.

Gambira received a 68-year jail sentenced which was reduced in connection with the Burmese government's decision to release hundreds of political prisoners.

Ganbira's freedom came in January. But then earlier this month he was briefly detained on orders the state-sponsored Buddhist monk's body (State Sangha Nayaka).  That detention brought a sharp protest from the United States.  
Gambira has voiced skepticism over Burma's new civilian government's commitment  to reform after decades of harsh military rule.  Since it took office last year the new government has freed political prisoners and allowed democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi to participate in April's upcoming elections.

Burma prisoners photo gallery

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.

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