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Prominent Buddhist monk sentenced to 3 months for ‘inciting public unrest’

Parmaukkha, pictured on 21 November 2017 outside Kamayut township court in Yangon. (PHOTO: DVB)

Ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk Parmaukkha was today sentenced to three months in prison for inciting public unrest, following his role in leading an ant-Rohingya protest outside the US embassy in April 2016.

Kamayut court sentenced Parmaukkha under Article 505 (b) of the penal code, which prohibits statements made “with intent to cause, or which [are] likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against public tranquility.”

Buddhist monks look on while media jostle for position as a van carrying controversial Buddhist monk Parmaukkha arrives at Kamayut courthouse in Yangon on 21 February 2018. (PHOTO: DVB)

Approximately two-thirds of the three-month sentence has already been served, Parmaukkha having been held in detention since a previous ruling on November 21 when he was sentenced to one month in jail for violating the Peaceful Assembly Act.

Both charges stem from Parmaukkha’s perceived role as leader of a demonstration outside the US embassy compound in Yangon on 21 April 2016.

Two other hardline monks, Thu Seikta and Nyana Dhamma, who were detained during the protest, were not charged.

In October last year, the same court jailed four Burmese nationalists for staging a similar anti-Rohingya protest outside the US embassy a week after Parmaukka’s rally.

Parmaukkha was arrested and disrobed on 12 November 2017. He previously stated that he would go on hunger strike if imprisoned.

Reportedly a co-founder of Ma Ba Tha, the Burmese language acronym for the Association for Protection of Race and Religion, Parmaukkha quit the radical anti-Muslim group in 2016, citing political differences.