US urges Myanmar to lift ex-prisoners' restrictions
The United States yesterday urged Myanmar to lift all conditions placed on recently released political prisoners as authorities planned a fresh trial of a leading dissident monk.
The long-closed country won wide international praise last month for freeing hundreds of political prisoners.
But rights campaigners say Myanmar did not release inmates unconditionally and instead suspended sentences under a section of the legal code that allows the president to put them back behind bars at his discretion.
Myanmar state media reported that freed monk Gambira will face charges of squatting in a monastery and breaking into two others.
Toner urged Myanmar to "begin a genuine dialogue with these released political prisoners and ethnic groups to promote national reconciliation," noting Washington had long called for them to be released without conditions.
Gambira, who goes by one name, was freed in January, cutting short a 68-year jail term imposed for his key role in 2007 mass protests known as the "Saffron Revolution," which were brutally crushed by the former junta.
The monk remains out of prison but was detained by authorities for one day on February 10, also leading to US condemnation.