Nationalist Monk Sentenced to 1 Month in Prison Over 2016 US Embassy Protest

By Zarni Mann 21 November 2017

MANDALAY – A court in Yangon’s Kamayut Township on Tuesday sentenced nationalist monk U Parmaukkha to one month in prison for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act last year.

U Parmaukkha, the former abbot of Magwe Kyaung Dike Monastery, was arrested last week and charged with violating the Peaceful Assembly Act for staging an unauthorized protest in front of the US Embassy in Yangon in 2016.

“Sayadaw [U Parmaukkha] told the court that while he feels no guilt for protesting in front of the embassy, he accepted the court’s decision,” said U Sithu Myint, a disciple of the monk.

In August last year, authorities granted permission to a nationalist group to hold a protest at the Bo Sein Hman ground, but they rallied in front of the embassy instead.

Four nationalists were arrested a few weeks after the protest and sentenced to seven-month prison terms by the same court. Arrest warrants for U Parmaukkha and two other monks were issued over the same incident. U Parmaukkha was arrested last week and brought before the court on Monday.

U Parmaukkha is scheduled to be charged on a related violation on Nov. 28. If convicted, he faces a further jail term of between six months and two years.

The monk came to prominence as a supporter of pro-democracy activists under the military regime. Since 2013, however, he has increasingly been identified with nationalist groups, including the former Ma Ba Tha.