Dutch tourist charged for in­sult­ing re­li­gion

The Myanmar Times - - News - THAN NAING SOE thannaing­soe@mm­times.com

A DUTCH cit­i­zen has been ar­rested for out­rag­ing religious sen­ti­ments af­ter un­plug­ging the am­pli­fier used by monks to broadcast a ser­mon. Klaas Haytema, 30, of Wans in the Nether­lands, is due to ap­pear in court to­day.

Mr Haytema is ac­cused of dis­con­nect­ing the am­pli­fier at about 10pm on Septem­ber 23 out­side his hotel near Thusarita Dham­ma­ry­one, a religious com­mu­nity hall in Yada­nar Bomme East ward of Maha Aung Myay town­ship, Man­dalay Re­gion.

Sol­diers had to be sum­moned to pro­tect him from an an­gry crowd that sur­rounded his hotel and de­manded that he be handed over to them. They dis­persed only when the au­thor­i­ties promised to take le­gal ac­tion against him.

“The for­eigner has been de­tained in po­lice cus­tody be­cause the im­mi­gra­tion de­part­ment and the head of the ser­mon recital team are press­ing charges,” said Po­lice Cap­tain Hla Myint of the tourist po­lice.

U Kyaw San, who was de­liv­er­ing the ser­mon, filed charges at the po­lice sta­tion in Maha Aung Myay town­ship un­der sec­tion 295 of the pe­nal code for in­tend­ing to in­sult religious feel­ings or be­liefs, and un­der sec­tion 4 (2) and 13 (1) of the Myan­mar Im­mi­gra­tion Law.

“In the three-month pe­riod of Bud­dhist lent, our ward re­cites ser­mons every night be­fore the Sab­bath day. The for­eigner came and unplugged the cord con­nected to the am­pli­fier,” said Ko Phone Myint, a res­i­dent of the ward.

– Trans­la­tion by Thiri Min Htun

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