A court in Mandalay’s Maha Aung Myay Township accepted a case against a Dutch tourist for violating visa regulations and insulting religion after he disrupted a Buddhist ritual last week.
The township’s immigration department and the leader of the Buddhist group that performed the ritual filed the case against 30-year-old Klaas Haijtema on Wednesday, after the tourist unplugged an amplifier used to enhance a Dhamma recitation by Buddhist devotees at the township’s Dhamma Yone community hall on Friday night. Haijtema was staying at the hotel opposite the hall.
The plaintiffs said the Dutch man did not take off his shoes when he entered the holy site and that he removed the wires from the PA system, disrupting the recitation that was held to mark the eve of a Buddhist Sabbath day.
During the trial on Wednesday, Klaas Haijtema said he was sorry for what he did and that he had not intended to disrupt a religious ceremony.
“I was not aware that the building was related to Buddhism. I was really tired that night and woke up to the noise. I was very angry, and assumed that children were playing music,” he told the court through a translator.
“So I went down to the building and unplugged the wires,” he added.
When asked for additional comments by The Irrawaddy, Klaas Haijtema said he had nothing further to add.
If he is found guilty under Section 13.1 of the Immigration Act, he could be given a minimum six-month to a maximum five-year sentence. For insulting religion, he could also face a two-year sentence under Section 295 of Burma’s Penal Code. He is currently detained at Obo Prison in Mandalay.
Full story: http://www.irrawaddy.com/burma/dutch-to ... igion.html
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