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An interview with an escapee-monk from Burma

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Ashin Pannasiri who escaped from junta prison

 

By Ashin Mettacara

Metta: Hi! Ashin, my name is Ashin Mettacara. I am blogging and spreading news to world about Burma. I heard that you escaped from a junta prison. Please can you share your prison experiences with us. What is your full name and code-name?

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Panna: Why not. My full name is Ashin Pannasiri and I use Mettananda and also Upakkha as code-names.


Metta: What was your position during the Saffron Revolution?

Panna: I was a spokes-monk for the Saffron Revolution, especially for foreign media. I had interviews with Al Jazeera, AFP dung the uprsing.

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Metta: I heard you have a close relationship with U Gambira who was a spokesmonk for the Saffron Revolution?

Panna: Yes, we organized the All-Burmese Monks Alliance and we worked together.

Metta: When were you arrested?


Panna: I was arrested at an internet café, in Monywa on October 18, 2007.

Metta: Can you speak about your experiences during interrogation? Did they use violent methods?

Panna: Soon after I was in the interrogation center, I was forced to do squatting and standing. They asked many questions, After every one question I was punched in the face. If they were not satisfied with my answer, they stamped on my toes with their boots. They kicked me in my face and chest. Their biggest question was about NLD party members and 88 generation students. I spent 6 days in the interrogation center after which I was sentenced to 3 years imprisonment for possessing foreign currency. After seven months in Monywa prison, I was sent to Lin Tan hard labor camp in Chin state.

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Metta: What was life like in the hard labor camp?

Panna: Prisoners had to work with their feet in chains from 7a.m to 11 am and then again from 1 pm to 5 pm. I had to do work I had never done before. Mostly I had to carry heavy logs on my shoulders, dig ditches and mend roads. We were sometimes forced to eat rice mixed rat feces and stones. It was horrible. Many prisoners die because of lack of medical care.

Metta: This is a sad story and you look so tired! Thank you so very much for giving of your time and answering my questions.

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http://www.ashinmettacara.org/
Ashin Mettacara is a 27-year-old Buddhist monk from Burma who is blogging and contributing with the aim of spreading news to the whole world about the crisis in Burma. He is not part of any political group, association or organization. He is (more...)
 

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