Fifth Suspect in Nationalist Confrontation Turns Himself in to Rangoon Police

By San Yamin Aung 22 May 2017

RANGOON — Another Buddhist nationalist—the fifth of seven people wanted by authorities for involvement in a violent confrontation between Muslims and Buddhists in Rangoon’s Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township on May 10—was arrested on Monday, while two monks remain at large.

Township police chief Lt-Col Zaw Win Naing told The Irrawaddy that the latest suspect to be arrested—Myat Phone Moh—had turned himself in to police. He appeared at Mingalar Taung Nyunt Township court for a brief hearing on Monday, along with three other men and a woman who had been previously taken in to custody.

Ko Latt, also known as Tin Htut Zaw, and his wife Ma Aung Aung Myint were arrested the day after the Mingalar Taung Nyunt incident, while two more individuals, Tin Line Htike and Tin Htay Aung, also turned themselves in to the township’s police station on May 15.

Police chief Lt-Col Zaw Win Naing said that despite the arrest of five individuals, the two Buddhist monks—U Pyinnya Wuntha and U Thuseitta of the Patriotic Monks Union—also have warrants out for their arrest—and are still at large.

“We are still looking for them,” he added.

All seven are charged with incitement to commit violence under Article 505(c) of Burma’s Penal Code, which is punishable with a maximum of two years imprisonment and/or a fine.

Today, at the Kamayut Township Court, the four hardline nationalists—Ko Win, Ko Latt, Ko Naung Taw Lay, Ko Thet Myo Oo and Ko Nay Lin Aung, who were arrested on Friday—also appeared.

They were charged along with three Buddhist monks in August last year under Section 505(b) of Burma’s Penal Code and Section 19 of the Peaceful Assembly and Procession Law for staging a protest in front of the US Embassy for the embassy’s usage of the term “Rohingya” to refer to members of the Muslim community in Arakan State.

Township court revoked bail for those detained on Friday including three Buddhist monks, U Parmaukkha, U Thuseitha and U Nyana Dhamma. Police did not disclose how they would take action against the three monks.

Violations of Section 505(b) are also punishable with a maximum of two years in prison, a fine, or both, while Article 19 carries a sentence of three months’ imprisonment at most.

Nationalist protesters on Saturday called for charges to be dropped against a number of nationalists, and that those who have been convicted be released from prison.