A court in Myanmar’s second biggest city Mandalay has sentenced 12 Muslim men to three months’ imprisonment for defying the government ban imposed on gatherings to check the COVID-19 pandemic.
U Kyaw Zwa Lin, the spokesman for the Chanmyatharzi Township Court court, said the men were gathered at a house in Aung Pin Lae, Chanmyatharzi Township, in April for prayers.
“Twelve adults were sentenced to three months’ imprisonment under the Natural Disaster Management Law’s Article 30(a). They were sent to Obo prison,” said U Kyaw Zwa Lin.
According to the court, the prayer service was organized by Aung Pin Lae residents, who were arrested on April 10.
Two under-18s in the group were transferred to the children’s court.
The Natural Disaster Management Law carries jail terms of up to one year.
In Tanintharyi Region, the authorities are seeking legal advice from the courts to charge the organizers of a funeral of a 83-year-old Buddhist monk of Sinphyu village in Yebyu Township.
The funeral in early April was attended by over 200 residents.
As of Friday morning, Myanmar has had 176 coronavirus cases with six deaths. The government has been encouraging people to stay at home where possible and urging the use of face masks and social distancing when they go out. The government has banned gatherings of more than five people until May 15 to curb the spread of coronavirus.
In Yangon, the two Christian pastors and their followers who held a religious gathering are facing the same charges since April 14.
At the service organized by the pastors, at least 80 people, including Pastor Saw David Lah, tested positive for coronavirus and there have been two deaths.
Zarni Mann is senior reporter at Irrawaddy .