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Myanmar Imprisons Buddhist Monk

AsiaNews, 20 February 2010

Yangon, Myanmar -- A Yangon court has sentenced a Buddhist monk to seven years in prison, on charges of illegal association. The news was reported by a member of the opposition in Burma, on the same day the UN High Representative for Human Rights concludes his diplomatic visit to Myanmar.

Gaw Thita was arrested last August at the international airport in
Yangon, on his return from a trip to Taiwan. The Buddhist Monk was
sentenced February 17 by a special court in Insein Prison, the
infamous prison where many Burmese opposition members and
human rights activists are imprisoned.

According to the charges, the court imposed three years for violating
the immigration laws, two for illegal association and two for using
foreign currency. On 26 August, the day he was arrested, the security
forces detained seven other monks Gaw Thita, however, is the only
one who has been convicted.

The visit of Tomas Ojea Quintana, a senior UN Human Rights official
with the brief for Myanmar, ends today. He met leaders of the military
junta - to discuss human rights and elections, scheduled this year -
but not the chief Than Shwe. The representative of the United Nations
also requested authorization to meet with Aung San Suu Kyi, but
received no response from the regime.

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