|Christian Solidarity Worldwide has expressed concern over the latest religious defamation cases. Sentenced to two years hard labour for insulting religion. U Tun Thurein and U Htut Ko Ko Lwin (C), followed by Mr Philip Blackwood, at Bahan Township court on March 17, 2015. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima|
Christian Solidarity Worldwide says it is deeply concerned about the violations of freedom of religion or belief and freedom of expression in Myanmar, amid growing religious intolerance, as illustrated by two current cases of “religious defamation,” according to a press release on March 17.
|Sentenced to two years hard labour for insulting religion. U Tun Thurein and U Htut Ko Ko Lwin (C), followed by Mr Philip Blackwood, at Bahan Township court on March 17, 2015. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima|
The New Zealand manager of VGastro Bar in Yangon and his two Myanmar business associates have been jailed for two years and six months for insulting Buddhism over an online Facebook advertisement showing a picture of Buddha wearing headphones.
|New Zealand citizen Philip Blackwood (C) is escorted by Myanmar policemen after his hearing at the court in Yangon, Myanmar, January 2, 2015. He and two Myanmar citizens, who ran a bar in Yangon, are accused of insulting Buddhism by using an image of the Buddha wearing DJ headphones on their flyer promoting a drinks event. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA|
The New Zealand bar manager facing jail in Myanmar over religious insult accusations was solely responsible for using a Buddha image in a controversial drinks promotion, his colleague has told a court.
The New Zealand Embassy Office in Myanmar has been told their application for a permit to visit Mr Philip Blackwood, accused of contravening Myanmar’s religious insult laws, may take up to two weeks to process, even though his court date is set for December 18, a friend of the accused told Mizzima on December 12.
Mr Philip Blackwood, accused of contravening Myanmar’s religious insult laws, was left in the dark during preliminary hearings on December 11, as no translator was provided and he was unable to access a lawyer who spoke English, said a friend of the New Zealand bar manager.