Release Ailing Human Rights Defender from Prison

Adam Foster

Target: Thein Sein, President of Myanmar

Goal: Release a human rights activist arrested without a warrant on arbitrary charges.

U Gambira, a Burmese activist and former Buddhist monk, has been arrested by authorities in Myanmar for supposedly entering the country illegally. It is believed that his arrest is arbitrary and politically-motivated. Sign the petition and demand that he be freed immediately.

U Gambira was previously imprisoned in Myanmar for his activism, which included founding the All Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA). He eventually received a presidential pardon, and upon his release he moved to Thailand to seek treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his time in prison. He also suffers from schizophrenia, for which he takes medication three times a day. It is unclear whether or not he is able to take his medication in prison.

Recently, U Gambira returned to Myanmar from Thailand seeking a passport. Amnesty International reports that he crossed the border at an official checkpoint and that there were no problems with either Thai or Burmese authorities at the crossing. However, U Gambira was arrested by 20 police officers just four days later. There was no arrest warrant but he was accused of entering the country illegally. Given the circumstances, the charges appear to be trumped-up and politically motivated.

U Gambira’s political activism has always been peaceful, and he has not done anything to merit his arrest. Sign the petition and demand his immediate release.

PETITION LETTER:

Your Excellency,

I am writing to urge the immediate release of U Gambira, a Burmese human rights activist and former Buddhist monk who has been arrested for supposedly entering Myanmar illegally. I believe the charges against him are false and are brought simply as a result of his former activism, all of which was completely peaceful. I demand that he be released immediately and allowed normal freedom of movement.

U Gambira was previously imprisoned for his human rights work in Myanmar before being freed by a presidential pardon. Upon his release, he traveled to Thailand to seek treatment for the post-traumatic stress disorder brought on by his prison time. However, he recently decided to return to Myanmar to seek a passport. He crossed at an official border crossing and had no problems with either Thai or Burmese officials, yet he was arrested at his hotel days later for entering the country illegally. These charges seem highly suspicious and unfounded.

U Gambira has already suffered through enough prison time in Myanmar. His peaceful activism is protected under international human rights standards, and any ill treatment as a result of his work constitutes a human rights violation. I urge you to do what is right and release U Gambira immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Adam Foster

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