Myanmar sentences 7 soldiers for Rohingya killings in internationally scrutinised case

Aaron Brown
April 12, 2018

In a rare admission of wrongdoing, the army said the soldiers in question had confessed to killing the men and burying them in a mass grave in the village of Inn Din.

A judge on Wednesday rejected a request for dismissal of a case against two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar after being accused of possessing secret government papers.

The United Nations estimates close to 700,000 Rohingya Muslim have fled across the border to neighbouring Bangladesh since August after militant attacks triggered a military crackdown that the United Nations has said is a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing".

Khin Maung Zaw said the court, at the next hearing on 20 April, is scheduled to hear testimony from two police officers, Deputy Major Moe Yan Naing and Sergeant Khin Maung Lin, whom state media has previously identified as having also been arrested in connection with the Reuters journalists' case. The military called it a "clearance operation" against the terrorists, but the USA and the United Nations branded it an "ethnic cleansing" after the army's operation drove almost 700,000 Rohingya into neighboring Bangladesh.

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A Myanmar court on Wednesday rejected a motion to drop a case against two Reuters journalists arrested while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims, even as seven soldiers were given lengthy sentences for their role in the killings. The journalists - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo - are facing a maximum prison term of 14 years. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were reporting on issues in Myanmar in an independent and impartial way.

Seven Myanmar soldiers have been sentenced to "10 years in prison with hard labour in a remote area" for participating in the massacre, the army said on Tuesday.

The defense lawyers asked the judge last week to dismiss the charges after four months of preliminary hearings, saying testimony from prosecution witnesses did not give enough evidence to prove the pair violated the law. "We will continue to do all we can to secure their release", Adler said. Some reporters from local and global media brought birthday cake for Wa Lone who blew the candles out on the way to the courtroom. "We journalists just did our job as we have the right of free press in a democracy and now we are facing the charge that could probably put us in prison for 14 years". "I also believe that one day we will be released because of freedom of expression", he said.

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