Myanmar jails doctor for insulting monks

Myanmar jails doctor for insulting monks

Buddhist monks walk inside the Masoyein monastery complex in Mandalay in October 2015. (Reuters photo)
Buddhist monks walk inside the Masoyein monastery complex in Mandalay in October 2015. (Reuters photo)

A Myanmar court has sentenced a doctor to 21 months in jail after convicting him of insulting Buddhist monks in connection with a debate about a proposal to teach sex education in schools.

Kyaw Win Thant, 31, was arrested in May after angry scenes at a monastery in the central city of Meiktila, where he apologised to monks for deriding them in Facebook posts, a senior monk said at the time.

A court in the city of Mandalay sentenced him under sections of the Penal Code that outlaw insulting religion, a spokesman told reporters on Tuesday.

"He feels regretful and admitted his crime so the court gave this decision," said court spokesman Kyaw Myo Win, according to video footage published by the Irrawaddy news outlet.

Kyaw Myo Win declined to comment when contacted by Reuters. He told media Kyaw Win Thant did not have a lawyer and he was not available for comment on Thursday.

Kyaw Win Thant's Facebook posts were in response to comments posted by numerous other monks denouncing a government proposal to teach sex education at school, the senior monk said earlier.

The posts have been deleted and could not be verified by Reuters.

A senior official from Mandalay district religious affairs department confirmed the sentence.

"We filed the lawsuit because he violated the law," the official, who declined to be identified, told Reuters.

Sex education is not taught as a separate subject in most Myanmar schools though aspects of growing up are addressed.

The proposal to include it has been a hot topic on social media but remains taboo in the conservative, mainly Buddhist country where monks have long been an influential source of moral guidance.

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