Last November, I wrote about T.S. Munkhbayar, a community leader in Mongolia whose efforts to protect his country from an explosion in mining helped spur the long-overdue regulation of mining companies. Munkhbayar was arrested then during a protest to proposed amendments to repeal these regulations.
Recently we heard the sad news that Munkhbayar and his fellow protesters have been sentenced to 21 years each for the accidental (the arresting officer is on record as acknowledging this) discharge of a weapon and the possession of guns (which is not unusual in Mongolia) at the protest, under the charge of terrorism.
Last month, a group of Mongolian community activists led by Tsetsegee Munkhbayar, recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize in 2007, were arrested outside the Mongolian Parliament. They were at the Parliament protesting proposals to abolish mining regulations that would protect the country’s waterways from decades of destruction from irresponsible mining companies operating in a regulation-free environment. The activists were arrested after the accidental firing of a gun, according to Mongolian police.