RANGOON — Lawyers acting for the abbot of Yay Pu Monastery in Mogok, who has been charged with illegal gem mining by the government, say they will seek to change the trial venue after police officers brought weapons into a district courtroom.
U Eindaka was arrested by Mogok police on June 9 after the Ministry of Mines filed a complaint under Section 41 of the Gems Law. The monk, who was demolishing old stupas in his monastery for the construction of a new pagoda, was accused of sifting through the earth in search of gems.
At a trial session in the Pyin Oo Lwin District Court, police officers brought guns into the courtroom during U Eindaka’s hearing, said lawyer Thein Than Oo.
“We feel that the Pyin Oo Lwin Dsitrict Court treated the Sayadaw rudely,” he told The Irrawaddy. “The monk says he does not trust the judge and we’ll therefore apply for trial at another court in Mandalay District.”
According to Burmese court procedures, police are not allowed to carry guns within 50 yards of a courtroom.
U Eindaka, an influential monk in the Mandalay area, first came to prominence as a leader of demonstrations during the 2007 Saffron Revolution in the Mogok area. He is also facing charges of defaming religion and breaching the Forestry Law, and is currently on remand at Obo Prison in Mandalay.
Soe Htay of the 88 Generation Peace and Open Society said that a support rally for U Eindaka will be staged in the near future.