Monday, September 13, 2010

15 Abbots Appeal to Western Command on Behalf of Arrested Monk

Sittwe: 15 abbots in Arakan State have appealed to the newly appointed Western Command Commander Brigadier Soe Thein to act justly and fairly toward arrested Arakanese historian monk Ashon Pyinya Sara, said one abbot.

"We sent the five-page appeal letter with the signatures of 15 monks to the Western Command Commander on 7 September, requesting they treat U Pyinya Sara justly and fairly in accordance with the law. U Pyinya Sara had many charges filed against him after he was arrested. Some charges are unrelated to his arrest and some are unacceptable. So I requested the Western Command Commander to reduce some of the charges and to try him justly in accordance with Burmese law," he said.

Among the monks to joined the appeal, 13 are from well-known monasteries in Sittwe while another two are from Ponna Kyunt and Min Bya Townships.

"We have no plans for future campaigns for his release if the authority does not follow our request. We sent the appeal as we have a duty to carry out such activities for Ashon Pyinya Sara. So we wrote the appeal letter to the highest authority in our state. The authority will consider what they will do about Pyinya Sara after they receive our appeal," the abbot said.

In Buddhist law, a monk may be dispelled from the monkhood if he abuses the precepts by living together with a woman.

"The authority told us at first the reason for his arrest is that U Pyinya Sara was living with a woman, but later the authority charged him with several other crimes beyond that. So it is unacceptable. Because of that we requested the Western Command Commander to consider the arrest of U Pyinya Sara on the many charges against him," the monk said.

In the appeal letter, the abbots explained that U Pyinya Sara is a historian monk who also carried out social works by keeping many orphans in his monasteries. He began establishing the orphanages in 1989 and has sacrificed for 20 years for the orphans staying there. So the abbots urged the Western Commander to consider his good behavior and to think about withdrawing some of the more unjust charges, such as the charges for disrupting the stability of the state.

U Pyinya Sara was arrested by authorities in Sittwe on 27 July, 2010, in a raid. When they raided the orphanage, the army authority seized many precious antiques from the library, including ancient silver and gold Arakanese coins, Buddha statues, and palm-leaf inscriptions that had been collected by Ashion Pyinya Sara over the years.

U Pyinya Sara is now being detained at the Sittwe prison and authorities have filed seven charges against him.


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