Three Saffron Revolution monks among those detained in February 1 raids

At least three Buddhist monks who took part in the 2007 Saffron Revolution against the military were among those detained during early morning raids on Monday as commander-in chief Min Aung Hlaing staged a coup.  

Video footage obtained by Myanmar Now shows police sitting on the floor before Sayadaw U Ariyawuntha, the abbot at Mandalay’s Myawaddy Mingyi monastery and one of the military’s most outspoken critics, shortly before arresting him. 

In what looked like an impromptu sermon, the monk told the officers: “The reason why our country became impoverished is because the soldiers and monks want to enrich themselves… We are responsible for correcting the bad behaviours of our countrymen.”

The monk, also known as the Myawaddy Sayadaw, had already been charged by the army in September last year under article 500 of the penal code for defamation, which carries a sentence of up to two years’ imprisonment. He had been out on bail and attending court hearings. 

He was taken to a court in Mandalay on Tuesday and Wednesday for hearings related to his ongoing case. At the hearings he had been disrobed and was wearing a maroon coloured sweater. 

On Wednesday morning, as he was taken in a police van from the court back to the prison in Mandalay, he told reporters that the coup is a violation of the constitution and that his court hearings today and yesterday went ahead without his lawyer. 

Another Buddhist monk based in Mandalay, Ashin Sobhita, was also detained in an early morning raid on Monday. Fellow monks said soldiers dressed in full tactical gear broke open the monastery doors and cuffed Sobhita’s hands behind his back before taking him away. 

Both monks joined the 2007 protests, which were stamped out by soldiers who shot demonstrators in the streets, but managed to evade arrest in the aftermath of the crackdown. 


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