Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gambira’s mother worries about her son’s mental health

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 15:24 Ko Wild

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Daw Yay, the mother of the political prisoner and Buddhist monk leader Gambira, says she is worried about his state of mind. After visiting her son in Kalay Prison in northwest Burma, she said she left very concerned. 

“His face and skin are bad. His physical health condition seemed ok, but I don’t like his mental condition,” Daw Yay, 62, told Mizzima by telephone.

She was allowed to meet with  Gambira, 32, a leading figure in the 2007 Saffron Revolution on October 28, for 40 minutes. He is serving a 68-year sentence.

More than 100,000 people protested against the military government in Rangoon during the 2007 Saffron Revolution, which was led by Buddhist monks. Photo: Mizzima

“According to the news I heard yesterday, when he was moved from Hkamti to Kalay Prison, he was tortured in the vehicle. He was in handcuffs and had to wear a black hood. A reliable person told me this,” she said.

Daw Yay will return to Meiktila on Tuesday and file a special appeal to allow him to receive medical treatment by doctors from outside the prison system.

He suffered from brain and neurological diseases while he was being held in Insein Prison, according to reports.

Though his mother Daw Yay was planning to visit his elder brother Aung Kayw Kyaw who is serving 14 years in Taungyi Prison in Shan State, she changed her mind to meet Gambira in Kalay prison instead this week because of his poor health.

 Gambira was 29 when he headed the monk-led protest popularly known as the Saffron Revolution in September 2007 while he was pursuing Buddhist studies. He stirred the conscience of the anti-regime masses by his political activity and became a leader of the All Burma Monks Alliance, which spearheaded the movement.

After the demonstrations were brutally crushed by the junta, he went into hiding. He was arrested in Singai Township, Mandalay Division, on November 4, 2007.

Gambira was awarded the Freedom of Expression 2008 prize given by Index of Censorship and the Abbot U Yewata Memorial Peace prize.

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