Dutch Tourist Klaas Haytema Jailed For Switching Off Loudspeaker In Myanmar

He also had to pay a fine.

06/10/2016 18:22

A tourist has been jailed for switching off a loudspeaker which was disturbing his sleep.

Klaas Haytema, from the Netherlands, was sentenced to three months in prison for interfering with a religious observance by unplugging an amplifier blasting a late-night Buddhist sermon near his hotel in Mandalay, the cultural capital of Myanmar.

The 30-year-old was also fined 100,000 kyats (about £62) for violating visa regulations requiring him to respect the culture, according to the Associated Press. 

STR via Getty Images
Klass Haytema was sentenced to three months in prison

Local media reported that he apologised and said he hadn’t known the loudspeakers were broadcasting religious content but the man who was delivering the sermon pressed charges.

A community leader involved in Haytema’s case, Chit San, said he called police when tempers flared after Haytema acted.

He said: “We could not negotiate peacefully because people were angry, so we called the police to control the situation.

“We actually didn’t want him to get arrested.”

It is unclear whether Haytema will appeal.

This is not the first time foreigners have fallen foul of Myanmar’s strict religious laws.

In early 2015, a Myanmar court sentenced New Zealand bar manager, Phil Blackwood, to two years in prison after he posted an image of Buddha wearing headphones on the bar’s official Facebook page in late 2014.

He was released in an amnesty earlier this year.

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