Burma

Two Myanmar Nationalists Jailed for Shutting Down Muslim Prayer Sites

By The Irrawaddy 2 September 2019

YANGON—Two nationalists who led the forced shutdown of three temporary worship sites for Muslims in Yangon’s South Dagon Township in May have been sentenced to one year in prison with labor after being convicted of incitement.

A court in South Dagon Township handed down the sentences against Michael Kyaw Myint and Thiha Myo Naing under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code for incitement to commit an offense against the state or against the public tranquility on Friday, local media reported.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of two years’ imprisonment, a fine, or both.

The pair led a mob of around 100 Buddhist monks and nationalists to force the closures of the prayer sites on May 15. They alleged that the sites were illegal, despite the fact that the Yangon regional government had given Muslim community leaders permission to use the buildings during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

A South Dagon Township administrator opened cases against them the following day. All of the prayer sites were reopened within a few days for use during Ramadan.

Michael Kyaw Myint went into hiding after the warrants were issued, but was arrested on June 10. Thiha Myo Naing handed himself in to police on June 6.

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