Abbot jailed for government defamation

Dec 17, 2007 (DVB), The abbot of Zantila Rama monastery has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment for defamation after complaining about the seizure of money from the monastery during a raid.

Zantila Rama monastery in South Okkalapa township, Rangoon, was raided by government security forces in early October.

Officials seized 4.2 million kyat that belonged to the monastery during the raid, according to a lay supporter of the abbot.

U Zantila, the monastery's abbot, wrote a letter of complaint about the incident to the minister of home affairs, minister of religious affairs and State Peace and Development Council chairman.

The abbot was arrested at the monastery by security forces a few days after he sent the letter and was charged with defaming the government.

He was disrobed and given a two-year prison sentence at the end of November.

The lay supporter was angered by the prison term, and is now trying to find out the names of the officials involved in the raid.

He plans to take his complaints further and bring the case to the attention of international Buddhist organisations.

Reporting by Moe Aye

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