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04/26/2022 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – A priest from Pathein Diocese in Myanmar’s Irrawaddy Division arrested by the military has been released following mediation by church officials.   

UCA News reported that Father Richard Nay Zaw Aung was released on April 19, nine days after his arrest. According to other clergy members from his diocese, he was treated well during detention and questioning by the security forces.   

According to other church sources, it is likely that Father Aung signed a letter with some conditions before his release.   

Father Aung, an assistant parish priest, was among 13 people arrested during a raid at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sharge village on Palm Sunday, April 10.   

The twelve others who were arrested, including another priest, were released later in the day on April 10 after being questioned for several hours.   

The church members were at the church around 3 am cooking meals for the Palm Sunday celebrations when dozens of soldiers arrived to check the guest list and arrested those present.   

Myanmar is a predominantly Buddhist country that has been under the control of the military junta since a coup in February 2021 deposed the democratically elected government. Since May 2021, eleven Catholic priests have been arrested around the country.   

Father Aung’s arrest came within a few days of 100 soldiers raiding the compound of Sacred Heart Cathedral in Mandalay. They combed through every building, including the archbishop’s house, for suspected hidden weapons.   

ICC has reported previously how the military junta has specifically targeted churches and other religious institutions in the majority-Christian Chin and Kayah states.   

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