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The Eastern District court has ruled out the meeting minutes of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee – a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist monks – submitted by London Sayadaw U Ottara as evidence on December 3, according to the London Sayadaw.
U Ottara and four other defrocked monks are currently on trial for religious offences, including trespassing on monastery grounds. They were arrested in a controversial raid on a Yangon monastery in June.
The meeting minutes were previously ruled out by the Tamwe Township court because they are restricted documents, sources say.
“The Tamwe court didn’t accept the meeting record of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, and the district court also says it is a restricted document that does not concern the public,” said Lawyer Thein Win, who represents the London Sayadaw.
The monk said he will submit the evidence to the Yangon Region Supreme Court, and if the region court does not accept it, he will submit it to the Nay Pyi Taw High Court.
“The court official said the words ‘government’ and ‘State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee’ are included in the document, and they are confidential. If the meeting record of the State Sanga Maha Nayaka Committee cannot be published, why do they circulate it to township Sangha Maha Nayaka committees and ward Sangha Maha Nayaka committees. It is clearly open to the public. If the district court does not accept my evidence, I will submit it to higher courts,” said the London Sayadaw.
The rejected evidence contains a record of a meeting of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee held on June 10 in which attendees agreed to evict the London Sayadaw and his followers from the Maha Thandi Thukha Monastery.
Sein Maw, head of the Yangon Region Religious Affairs Department, filed the prosecution case against the London Sayadaw. The London Sayadaw submitted a petition to the Yangon Region Supreme Court to drop the charges against him, but the Supreme Court has not made a decision yet.
Sein Maw filed the prosecution case against five monks, including the London Sayadaw. The five face two charges – one for violating the religious legislation of the Sangha Organisation and another for offences under Section 295(a) of the Penal Code. The trial is ongoing.