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Myanmar state media: Dissident monk to be charged

Associated Press - February 19, 2012

Yangon, Myanmar A dissident monk who helped lead Myanmar's 2007 anti-government uprising is facing fresh legal action, state media reported Sunday.

Shin Gambira is facing charges of "squatting" illegally in a government-sealed monastery and breaking into two others, the state-run New Light of Myanmar said.

The 33-year-old monk was one of the leaders of the so-called Saffron Revolution, a 2007 uprising led by Buddhist monks against the then-ruling military junta. The army brutally crushed the protests and shut down some monasteries in the aftermath.

Gambira was detained during the military crackdown that followed, but he was released on Jan. 13 after half a decade behind bars. His release came as part of a mass prisoner release that has been hailed as a sign of Myanmar's new government's willingness to make reforms.

Earlier this month, authorities briefly detained Gambira again and questioned him in regard to breaking into monasteries illegally after he allegedly ignored a summons to report for questioning. Gambira was released shortly afterward.

Gambira had also publicly voiced skepticism about the new government's commitment to democratic reforms.

The US and European Union have called the progress positive steps forward but say they will be closely watching an upcoming April by-election before deciding whether to lift sanctions that were imposed during military rule.

The country's nominally civilian government came to power last year after half a century of army rule.

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