Burma has granted early release to seven soldiers jailed for the killing of 10 Rohingya men and boys during a 2017 military crackdown in the western state of Arakan, two prison officials, two former fellow inmates and one of the soldiers told Reuters.
The soldiers were freed in November last year, the two inmates said, meaning they served less than one year of their 10-year prison terms for the killings at Inn Din village.
They also served less jail time than two Reuters reporters who uncovered the killings. The journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, spent more than 16 months behind bars on charges of obtaining state secrets. The two were released in an amnesty on May 6.
Read more on Reuters Journalist:
Win Naing, the chief warden at Arakan’s Akyab Prison, and a senior prison official in the capital, Naypyitaw, confirmed that the convicted soldiers had not been in prison for some months.
“Their punishment was reduced by the military,” said the senior Naypyitaw official, who declined to be named.
Both prison officials declined to provide further details and said they did not know the exact date of the release, which was not announced publicly.
Military spokesmen Zaw Min Tun and Tun Tun Nyi declined to comment.
The seven soldiers were the only security personnel the military has said it has punished over the 2017 operation in Arakan, which drove more than 800,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.
U.N. investigators said the crackdown was executed with “genocidal intent” and included mass killings, gang rapes and widespread arson.
Burma denies widespread wrongdoing and officials have pointed to the jailing of the seven soldiers in the Inn Din case as evidence Burmese security forces do not enjoy impunity.
“I would say that we took action against every case we could investigate,” the military’s commander in chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, told officials from the U.N. Security Council in April last year, according to an account posted on his personal website.
The army chief cited the Inn Din case specifically. “The latest crime we punished was a killing, and ten years’ imprisonment was given to seven perpetrators,” he said. “We will not forgive anyone if they commit (a) crime.”
Reached by phone on Thursday, a man named Zin Paing Soe confirmed that he was one of the seven soldiers and that he was now free, but declined to comment further. “We were told to shut up,” he said.
Read more from source: REUTERS
The military council announced the activation of the militia service law, which was enacted in 2010 by former dictator General...
The Myanmar military regime has organized a new legal team led by its foreign minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, to...
Protesters marching in Yangon for a second consecutive day on Sunday carried red balloons – the colour of Suu Kyi’s...
The disappearance of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi, who represented two entirely different archetypes to two different audiences, domestic and...
Breaking: Myanmar’s military has taken power and declared a state of emergency after detaining civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi...
More than a dozen embassies, including the United States and the European Union delegation, have urged Myanmar to “adhere to...