Burmese soldiers jailed for Rohingya massacre

Ten Rohingya Muslim men with their hands bound kneel in Inn Din village Sept. 1 2017

Charred debris of houses and vegetation are seen in the abandoned village of minority Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din are seen in March.

Myanmar has faced global condemnation and accusations of extrajudicial killings, ethnic cleansing and genocide as some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine to Bangladesh following a military crackdown on insurgents.

Reuters reporters Wa Lone, 32 and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27 were arrested in December and accused of violating the country's Official Secrets Act for possessing material relating to security operations in conflict-hit Rakhine state.

In a case that has provoked worldwide condemnation, the two were arrested on December 12 while they were investigating the massacre of 10 Rohingya civilians in the Rakhine State village of Inn Din.

In January, the army made a rare admission that its soldiers killed ten Rohingya villagers who were captured past year in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine and accused of being terrorists. Reuters published its story on the murder in February.

Myanmar has rejected accusations of ethnic cleansing in its western state of Rakhine, saying its security forces launched a legitimate counter-insurgency operation on August 25 in response to Rohingya militant attacks. "A further three soldiers were purged and given a 10 year prison sentence with hard labour in a criminal prison", read the post from Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. "Three soldiers of other rank were demoted to the rank of "private", permanently dismissed from the military and sentenced to 10 years with hard labor at a prison in a remote area", read the military statement.

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Win Myat Aye was "meeting officials at the camps", local police chief Abul Khaer told Agence France-Presse, adding that International Organization for Migration representatives were involved in the talks.

Their report, based on testimony from Buddhist villagers, security officers and relatives of the slain men, described how Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers executed the 10 men before dumping their bodies into a mass grave.

The Rohingya are Muslims who live in majority-Buddhist Myanmar.

Refugees arriving over the months since then have reported killings, burnings, looting and rape by members of the Myanmar security forces and Buddhist vigilantes. And Rohingya witnesses told Reuters that soldiers plucked the 10 from among hundreds of men, women and children who had sought safety on a nearby beach.

Their lawyers asked the court to dismiss the case last week, citing in part troubling discrepancies in witness statements, but the motion was swiftly rejected in a Yangon courtroom packed with supporters, family and media.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya have crossed into southern Bangladesh since August, creating one of the world's largest refugee camps. When convicted they can end up to 14 years.

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