In what could possibility be the first time the Myanmar government acted against those accused of perpetrating violence and hate against Rohingya, a military court has sentenced 7 soldiers to prison to serve 10 years with hard labor for killing 10 Rohingya men last year September in the village of Inn Din.
The court found the soldiers guilty of “contributing and participating in murder.”
The massacre was being investigated by two Reuters journalists – Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 – who were subsequently arrested in December and are still behind bars facing charges of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act.
The authorities told Reuters in February the military had opened an internal investigation independently and that it was unrelated to the Reuters reporters, who are accused of obtaining unrelated secret government papers.
The Rohingya men from the northern Rakhine village of Inn Din were buried in a mass grave in early September after being hacked to death or shot by Buddhist neighbours and soldiers.
The murders were part of a larger army crackdown on the Rohingya, beset by allegations of murder, rape, arson and looting, unleashed in response to Rohingya militant attacks on security forces in late August. The United Nations and the United States have described it as ethnic cleansing – an accusation Myanmar denies.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingya have crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, creating one of the world’s largest refugee camps.
Myanmar soldiers jailed for 10 years for Rohingya killings
Seven Myanmar soldiers have been sentenced to prison for their involvement in the killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men last year.
The military said in a statement the soldiers will serve 10 years with hard labour for “contributing and participating in murder”.
The army admitted for the first time earlier this year that its soldiers were involved in the killings.
Myanmar has been accused of carrying out ethnic cleansing in Rakhine state.
Four officers and three non-officers were found guilty in a military court for their part in the killings in the village of Inn Din, according to the statement posted on the army’s Facebook page.
The deaths were being investigated by two Reuters journalists who were subsequently arrested and are still being held in prison.
On Wednesday, a court in Myanmar rejected an application to dismiss the case against the journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
More than 650,000 Rohingya have fled into neighbouring Bangladesh since violence erupted in Rakhine state last August, with terrible stories of mass murder, rape and torture.
They accuse the military, backed by local Buddhist mobs, of burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.
Myanmar’s military has denied targeting civilians, and insists it is fighting only Rohingya militants.
Source: BBC, April 11, 2018. Photo credit to CNN.