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Ashion Pyinya Sara sentenced to over eight years in prison

Arakanese historian monk Ashion Pyinya Sara was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years and three months in prison....

Arakanese historian monk Ashion Pyinya Sara was sentenced on Wednesday to eight years and three months in prison by a district court of Sittwe, said a source close to the monk.

The Sittwe District Deputy Judge, Daw War War Tun, passed the verdict and sentence at 11 am on Wednesday.

Ashion Pyinya Sara was sentenced to three years for possession of foreign currency under Act 24 (1), three months for possession and distribution of obscene materials  under Act 295, and two years for insulting the religion under Act 406.

Another three years were added to the sentence on charges of destruction, damage and defiling of a place of worship or sacred object, which covers criminal breach of trust under Act 292. He was also fined 10,000 Kyat for charges under a municipal act.

The Burmese military authorities arrested the well-known Arakanese historian monk Ashion Pyinya Sara in Sittwe on 27 July on several charges, including abuse of religious principles.

Following the arrest, military authorities closed and sealed the orphanage led by the monk and sent 100 orphans to undisclosed locations in Burma proper. At the same time the authorities seized many precious antiques, including ancient silver and gold Arakanese coins, Buddha statues, and palm-leaf inscriptions that had been collected by Ashion Pyinya Sara over the years.

The Maha Muni Buddha Vihara orphanage is located in suburban Sittwe, the capital of Arakan, and it was the largest orphanage in the city.