Burmese protest leader monk Shin Gambira freed

Shin Gambira Gambira's detention and release comes as Burma's reform process is under increasing scrutiny

Burmese monk Shin Gambira, one of the leaders of anti-government protests in 2007, has been released after briefly being detained by the authorities.

Gambira had been taken from a monastery in Rangoon early on Friday morning, his brother told the BBC.

Officials had said he was merely being questioned and was not charged.

Gambira had been released as part of an amnesty last month, but continued his criticism of the civilian, military-backed government.

The US State Department had expressed concern over his latest detention.

Hard labour

One of the leaders of the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, the 31-year-old was arrested in November 2007, weeks after the monk-led ''saffron revolution'' protests were crushed.

Less than three weeks later, he was jailed for 68 years, including 12 of hard labour.

He was one of 651 people freed on 13 January in what was the most significant release of political prisoners since the country began a series of reforms aimed at encouraging the lifting of sanctions imposed by the European Union and United States.

But after his release, Gambira reportedly began re-opening monasteries that were locked up by the authorities since the protests.

In interviews, he expressed deep scepticism about reforms taking place in Burma, says the BBC's Rachel Harvey in Burma.

An EU official is due to visit Burma on Saturday to offer 150m euros ($199m, £126m) in aid following the series of recent reforms.

Andris Piebalgs, the European Union development commissioner, will meet with President Thein Sein as well as pro-democracy opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is contesting upcoming by-elections.

More on This Story

Burma's Transition

More Asia stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Woman in swimming pool Green stuff

    The element that makes a familiar smell when mixed with urine


  • People take part in an egg-cracking contest in the village of Mokrin, 120km (75 miles) north of Belgrade, Serbia on 20 April 2014In pictures

    Images from around the world as Christians mark Easter Sunday


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • ITChild's play

    It's never been easier for small businesses to get their message out to the world

Programmes

  • An aerial shot shows the Olympic Stadium, which is closed for repair works on its roof, in Rio de Janeiro March 28, 2014.Extra Time Watch

    Will Rio be ready in time to host the Olympics in 2016? The IOC president gives his verdict

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.