Burma jails 72 Rohingyas over riots in Maungdaw

Maungdaw, Arakan State:  Burmese government has sentenced 72 Rohingya people to jail on last week, October 17 for their involvement in violence in June 2012, in Maungdaw Township, Mogul (not real name), a close relative of the victims said.“They were arrested after the violence of June 2012, in Maungdaw Township. After the arrest, they were severely tortured and kept in Buthidaung jail without inadequate food and other facilities. They are not allowed to hire lawyers to give them protection.”

The verdicts follow earlier concerns that the villagers were bearing the outcome of the clampdown on suspects involved in the unrest which shivered the Maungdaw Township. Many Rohingyas and some Rakhines were killed in the bloodshed and injured many. The injured Rohingya villagers were not allowed for treatment in government hospitals excluding Rakhine community, Mogul more added.

The detained Rohingya people were sentenced on charges including— murder, assault, arson and inciting unrest—, said a police aide who did not want to be named.

Though the violence in June 2012, in Maungdaw Township was in planned way created by local Rakhine community with the cooperation of local concerned authorities such as–police, Hluntin, Nasaka, and army etc. But, the government blamed to the local Rohingya community. During the violence, the security forces encouraged the Rakhine community and did not take any action against them. But, security forces arrested many Rohingya people including boys (even 10 years) and women arbitrarily. Some of the State Ministers (Rakhine State) and some opposition leaders, especially— RNDP, ALP, ALD and some social organizations— were actively participated. They also got supporting from some USDP hard liners of Central Government, according to a politician of Arakan State.

On October 17, in first phase, 19 from Warr Char (upper Than Dah) village, under the Police area No. 6, of Maungdaw Township were sentenced to five years jail each from Buthidaung court, said another relative of the victims who denied to be named.

In second phase, the same day, another 21 villagers from Sonmowna village, under the Police area No.7, were also sentenced to jail from Buthidaung court. Of them, 17 villagers had been sentenced to 4-5 years per each, and the rest 7-person was sentenced to 14 years per each, said a trader from the village.

In third phase, 32 members are from Kanpoo village of police area No.7, were also sentenced to 4-5 years jail per each before October 17. All the victims belong to Maungdaw south, said Kholil (not real name) from the locality preferring not to be named.

Besides, on October 23, three detainees were released from Buthidaung jail after spending huge money. They are identified as —Maulvi Abul Kalam,22, son of Nagu; hailed from Kan Hpoo (Konza Bill) village and Monu Meah and his son from Lambar Ghona (Zawma Tat), under the  police area No. 6. All previous Nasaka areas are renamed as police areas, a relative of Monu Meah (not real name) said on condition of anonymity.

Every day, in Buthidaung jail, the detainees have to thresh at least five harvest paddy bales of paddy by beating with a stick. It is a very hard work, and they are being used as slave labors. Some of the detainees are handcuffed and to set free from handcuffed, police demand Kyat 30,000 per head, Monu continued.

According to government data, 1,189 people including 260 Buddhist Rakhines and detained for their role 882 Rohingya Muslims have been in 2012 violence.

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