Former Myanmar religion minister jailed for 13 years: lawyer

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 17, 2014 12:56 PM

By Paul Mooney

YANGON (Reuters) - A former minister of religious affairs in Myanmar was sentenced to 13 years in prison on Friday on charges of misappropriation of state funds and sedition, his lawyer said.

Hsan Hsint, who was sacked on June 19, was handed a 10-year prison term and 100,000 kyat ($100) fine for sedition, lawyer Tin Tun told Reuters, and an additional three-year sentence for a charge of siphoning off state funds worth $10,000.

Tin Tun said prosecutors failed to provide concrete evidence of Hsan Hsint's guilt. "The allegations are not quite clear,” he said, adding that he would appeal against the ruling at the Mandalay Division high court next week.

No information on the case was available from the judiciary.

Hsan Hsint's dismissal followed a police raid on a Buddhist monastery involved in a property dispute. Five monks were arrested during the raid, which caused a public outcry.

Thousands of prisoners were granted amnesty by the Myanmar government last week though only three were political detainees. Rights groups said the move seemed aimed at improving Myanmar's image before it hosts a summit next month of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) that world leaders including U.S. President Barack Obama are due to attend.

(Reporting by Paul Mooney; Editing by Mark Heinrich)