Five disrobed monks from Rangoon’s Mahasantisukha Monastery have been released on 20 million kyat (US$20,000) bail each from Tamwe Township Court on Friday afternoon after facing a hearing on charges of defaming religion.
Following their release, the five – including Uttara, a British passport holder – immediately returned to the Mahasantisukha Monastery to be re-ordained.
The monastery is at the centre of an ongoing land dispute between its self-proclaimed owner, Penang Sayadaw, and the government-backed State Sangha Maha Nayaka, the highest order of Buddhist monks in the country.
Speaking to DVB at 6pm local time on Friday, Uttara said the arrest of the four monks and himself was unwarranted and unlawful.
“They came late at night and with no court warrant – it was not in accordance with the law,” he said, adding that the court had earlier heard prosecution statements, and that the next hearing would be on 27 June.