Myanmar’s military has released Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk known for his anti-Muslim rants. Aung San Suu Kyi’s deposed government has dropped all charges, including sedition, against him, a military statement said on Monday.
The monk was once referred to as ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror’ by Time magazine for stirring up religious hatred in Myanmar. ‘He is receiving treatment at a military hospital,’ said the message without providing further details. As an anti-Muslim 969 group member, the Mandalay monk got involved with the group in 2001. The first time he was jailed was in 2003.
In 2010, Wirathu was released. After rioting broke out between Buddhists and the Rohingya minority two years later, he rose to prominence. In addition to founding the nationalistic group, which was accused of inciting violence against Muslims, he has also been successful in pushing laws that make interfaith marriage more difficult.
Myanmar’s highest Buddhist authority banned him from preaching for one year for his tirades in 2017. His Facebook account was shut down in 2018. According to reports, the monk turned himself into authorities over May 2019 charges that he attempted to ‘spread hatred’ toward Aung San Suu Kyi’s government and that he was ‘excited disaffection’.