‘They Sued Him First, We Can Sue Him Again’ – Ministry Vows to Hit Wirathu With New Charges

The ministry of religious affairs is preparing to file additional charges against the anti-Muslim monk Wirathu, who is wanted by police for sedition, a senior official has told Myanmar Now.

Zarny Win, the ministry’s deputy permanent secretary, said officials were working hard to prepare new charges that will follow a lawsuit filed by a senior employee of the General Administration Department.  

“We will not wait. The General Administration Department sued him first. We can sue him again. There is no problem. We are just doing our jobs but maybe not at the same time,” he said.

Zarny Win has previously told Myanmar Now that the monk could be charged under sections 66d and 505b, which cover defamation and causing public fear and alarm.

San Min, the GAD’s chief officer in Yangon’s western district, filed a lawsuit Tuesday evening accusing Wirathu of bringing “hatred or contempt” against the government with a 5 May speech he gave railing against efforts to amend the 2008 constitution.

The sedition law carries a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison.

Wirathu announced his arrival to Yangon from Mandalay on Wednesday and said he would willingly face the arrest, but police have yet to apprehend him.

He was due to appear at a State Sangha committee meeting Thursday to be reprimanded for his 5 May speech but the committee postponed the meeting unexpectedly.

Wirathu then told media that he would appear at the committee’s office near Shwedagon pagoda anyway, where a group of his supporters gathered, but he failed to show up.

In his absence, his supporters marched to the pagoda’s lower platform.

Gathering and protesting at Shwedagon’s platforms is strictly prohibited, but the board of trustees at the pagoda made no attempt to stop Wirathu’s supporters.


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