A former monk and prominent figure in Myanmar’s 2007 Saffron Revolution was released from prison on Friday after charges against him were dropped.
U Gambira, also known as Nyi Nyi Lwin, was arrested in January after crossing into Myanmar from Thailand, where he had been living, to apply for a new passport. He was later convicted of violating immigration laws, and was due to complete his sentence on July 1.
However, earlier this week, a Myanmar court laid additional charges against the former monk of “causing mischief” and “house trespass”, which stemmed from alleged crimes in 2012 when he attempted to re-open monasteries that had been closed down because of the activities of their monks during the mass anti-government protests of 2012, known as the Saffron Revolution.
On Friday morning, Gambira’s lawyer confirmed that he had been released from prison and that charges against him had been dropped.
His wife, Australian citizen Marie Siochana, shared a photo of the couple on her Facebook page with the caption, “He’s Free!!”
Earlier this week, Amnesty International issued a statement expressing its concern over the new charges, which it said were “politically motivated” and brought “to prolong his current imprisonment”.
Gambira is known to suffer from a number of mental health issues stemming from his imprisonment between 2007 and 2012 for his leading role in the Saffron Revolution.
Requests this year for Gambira to be granted bail so he could receive necessary medical treatment were denied.