State Administration Council Frees Ashin Wirathu From Prison

By Network Media Group
Wednesday, September 8, 2021

The State Administration Council (SAC) has released Ashin Wirathu after the previous government, which was overthrown by the junta, imprisoned the controversial ultra-nationalist Buddhist monk late last year.

“We are very happy about his release. Ashin Wirathu will resume his Dhamma talks,” a 30-year-old follower from Insein Township told NMG.

On social media, however, many expressed fears that Wirathu might be up to his old tricks again, stoking divisions between Buddhists and Muslims and promoting racial and religious discrimination, which has led to political demonstrations and violence in the past.

The fiery monk spent 7 months in prison before being released on Monday September 6 after the Yangon regional government dissolved his case.

Wirathu contracted the virus while imprisoned in Insein Prison.

“He has been receiving medical treatment at Mingaladon Military Hospital since May, so we did not know if he had been released,” Chan Aye Kyaw, director of Myanmar Prison Department, told NMG.

After criticising National League for democracy with profane words, Ashin Wirathu was charged in 2019 by San Min, deputy officer for General Administration Department in Yangon’s Western District.

Wirathu was on the run in Karen State for 17 months until he surrendered to police on November 2, 2020, just before the country went to the polls during the national elections.

The monk is no stranger to life as a prisoner. He was gaoled in 2003 for inciting riots in 2003 when 11 Muslims died after a mosque was set on fire. In 2012, he was released from prison under the pro-military Thein Sein government.

After the February 1 coup, SAC released many prisoners who sympathised with the military, but kept Wirathu under lock and key.