05/30/2019, 13.58
MYANMAR
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Ultranationalist monk U Wirathu facing arrest warrant

The clergyman will be tried for making “personal and obscene" comments about Aung San Suu Kyi. He was supposed to meet the regional religious authorities but the event was scrapped. The Sangha Council does not want the monk to get involved again in secular affairs.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Myanmar’s ultra nationalist Buddhist monk U Wirathu (pictured), aka the Buddhist ‘Bin Laden’, said he “will face arrest” after a warrant was issued on Tuesday. The clergyman said that he was in Yangon to meet with the Yangon Region’s Sangha (Cleric) Council

The warrant was issued following the announcement by the Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture that the monk would be put on trial for making "personal and obscene" comments against State Councillor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Long before he verbally attacked Myanmar’s democratic leader, the monk was famous for his anti-Islamic rhetoric and for fuelling tensions between Buddhists and Muslims throughout the country.

In a letter dated 22 May, the Yangon Sangha Council summoned Wirathu to warn him against getting involved in secular affairs. The warning came from the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, the country’s highest Buddhist religious authority.

However, last night the Minister of Religious Affairs and Culture announced that, at the last moment, the Yangon Sangha Council decided to postpone the meeting due to present circumstances.

Myanmar media reported that the police was going to arrest the ultranationalist monk after the meeting.

The Yangon’s Western District Court had issued the warrant under Article 124 (a) on sedition. If convicted under the article, he faces seven to 20 years in prison, or a fine.

“I still haven’t got any notification about the warrant. If they want to catch me, let them do. I will face it,” Wirathu is quoted as saying.

Since the government in power is a democratic one, he said he doesn’t expect a lengthy prison sentence. “I don’t think they (the government) would be that brutal,” he explained.

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