YANGON: Myanmar has sentenced two Buddhist men to seven years in prison for murders during religious violence in March that left dozens of people dead, a local official said on Monday.
The defendants were convicted after separate trials at the district court in Meiktila for their part in deadly rioting in the town, which mainly targeted Muslims and sparked waves of religious unrest across the country.
Meiktila district Chairman of Tin Maung Soe said one man, aged 24, was sentenced on
June 28, becoming the first Buddhist known to be sentenced for a serious offence over the rioting, which left at least 44 people dead.
“He was found at the scene where some people were killed during the unrest in Meiktila. That is why he was charged with murder,” he said.
He said the second suspect, aged 21, was handed sentences of seven years and one year with hard labor—to be served concurrently—on Friday for his part in the killings.
Thousands of local Muslims were driven from their homes during the violence, as Buddhist mobs torched whole neighborhoods, destroyed shops and damaged mosques.
Human rights groups have accused the police of being slow to stop the killings, while activists have called on authorities to fully investigate and prosecute those responsible.
At least 10 Muslims have so far been handed jail terms for serious offences during the rioting.