Man given two-year sentence for shouting religious slogan

Oct 11, 2007 (DVB), A man arrested for shouting a pro-Buddhist slogan in a video house in Aung Lan township, Magwe division, has been sentenced to two years' imprisonment.

Ko Kyauk Khe was arrested on 30 September for shouting "Long live the Buddhist religion" after watching footage of the government's violent crackdown on protestors.

He was forced to defend himself in court because all the local defence lawyers were persuaded not to take the case.

During the trial, prosecutors alleged that Ko Kyauk Khe had also shouted "Down with Than Shwe" and other anti-government chants, and accused him of supporting the monk-led protests in the township.

In his defence, Ko Kyauk Khe said that he shouted in support of Buddhism, because he felt that the government's actions were undermining the religion. He further claimed that the peaceful demonstrators had been acting within the law and so he could not have committed a crime by supporting them.

Aung Lan township judge U Myint Swe and township legal officer U Aye Shwe found that Ko Kyauk Khe had violated section 505 (b) of the Burmese penal code, which deals with causing public alarm or incitement to commit an offence against the state or public tranquility. He was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, the maximum term for this offence.

Reporting by Maung Too

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