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Myanmar court jails New Zealand man for 2 years and 6 months for insulting Buddhism

  • FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, a police officer escorts New Zealand citizen Philip Blackwood, left, who is accused of insulting Buddhism, for a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar. The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by a Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)

    FILE - In this Dec. 18, 2014 file photo, a police officer escorts New Zealand citizen Philip Blackwood, left, who is accused of insulting Buddhism, for a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar. The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday, March 17, 2015 by a Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • Philip Blackwood, left, manager of V Gastro bar, is escorted by Myanmar police officers during his trial at a township court Tuesday, March. 17, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar.  The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday by the Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.(AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    Philip Blackwood, left, manager of V Gastro bar, is escorted by Myanmar police officers during his trial at a township court Tuesday, March. 17, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday by the Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.(AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

  • Philip Blackwood, left, manager of V Gastro bar, is escorted by Myanmar police officers for his trial at a township court Tuesday, March. 17, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar.  The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday by the Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.(AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

    Philip Blackwood, left, manager of V Gastro bar, is escorted by Myanmar police officers for his trial at a township court Tuesday, March. 17, 2015, in Yangon, Myanmar. The New Zealand bar manager and his business associates were sentenced Tuesday by the Myanmar court to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over an online advertisement that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.(AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)  (The Associated Press)

A Myanmar court has sentenced a New Zealand bar manager and his business associates to two years and six months in prison for insulting Buddhism over a flyer that showed a psychedelic depiction of Buddha wearing headphones.

Blackwood, 32, Tun Thurein and Htut Ko Ko Lwin were given two years of hard labor for insulting religion and six months for disobeying an order from a public servant.

The trial of V Gastro manager Blackwood, bar owner Tun Thurein and employee Htut Ko Ko Lwin came as the predominantly Buddhist nation grapples with a surge of religious nationalism — including violence against members of the minority Muslim community.

The three were arrested in December after the image was used to promote a tapas bar and lounge.