Court Rules Out Bail for Detained Former Monk U Gambira

By Zarni Mann 10 February 2016

MANDALAY ——A court in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township denied bail on Wednesday to detained former monk U Gambira, a prominent figure in Burma’s 2007 Saffron Revolution.

Gambira, also known as Nyi Nyi Lwin, was arrested on Jan. 19 in a Mandalay hotel and is facing charges of violating immigration laws.

He is being held in Mandalay’s Obo Prison. Known to suffer from mental health issues, Gambira’s family and lawyers had asked that he be released to receive necessary medical treatment.

“Since we have information that Nyi Nyi Lwin is receiving the required medicine and medical care regularly inside the prison, and there’s no remark from prison doctors regarding immediate medical care, I have to refuse bail according to the law,” said the presiding judge, Than Win, in court on Wednesday.

Despite the court’s rejection, Gambira’s legal team said they would make another submission for bail at the next court hearing, scheduled for February 16.

“I’m sad that the court denied bail and has mistakenly sued me and detained me. I will try again for bail,” Gambira said after Wednesday’s hearing, during which the court heard testimony from immigration officer Thaung Dan.

“We found that Nyi Nyi Lwin went to Thailand over the border illegally since October 2013,” said Thaung Dan.

However, when questioned by the defense, the officer said he was unaware that the accused held a non-Thai identification card issued to migrant workers in Thailand.

The defense team submitted evidence including travel documents, identification and border passes in court on Wednesday.

Gambira’s legal representatives said the immigration officer’s claims were not sufficient to base a case on.

“Since the officer said he didn’t know Nyi Nyi Lwin was living in Thailand and crossing the border legally, it is very supportive for the case. Let’s see what will happen at the next court hearing after questioning other witnesses,” said lawyer Robert San Aung.