15 Handed Prison Terms for Destruction of Mandalay Muslim Cemetery

By Zarni Mann 26 February 2015

MANDALAY — A court in Patheingyi Township, Mandalay Division, on Tuesday sentenced 15 Buddhist men to prison terms for destroying the Muslim section of Kyarnikan Cemetery during inter-communal conflict in July last year, according to a lawyer involved in the case.

Two men from Patheingyi Township received two years imprisonment, while the other 13 men received one year imprisonment on criminal charges of arson and damaging places and objects with the intention of insulting religion or religious beliefs.

“The court found two of them were guilty of torching up buildings, while the rest were sentenced for insulting religion,” said Thein Than Oo, a lawyer of some of the defendants.

He said the men are being detained at Mandalay’s Oh-Bo Prison, where they will serve their prison terms.

In early July, clashes erupted between Buddhists and Muslim residents of Mandalay after allegations were circulated on social media that a Muslim tea shop owner had raped his Buddhist maid.

In the ensuing violence, one Buddhist man and a Muslim man were killed, while 14 people were injured.

The funeral procession of Buddhist man, named Tun Tun gathered a huge crowd in the city center and passed by Kyarnikan Cemetery, located on Mandalay’s outskirts.

Angry men, carrying bamboo and iron rods, who accompanied the funeral procession destroyed several gravestones and burned down an orphanage building, a rest house and a home of the Muslim caretaker of the Muslim section of the cemetery.