11 Muslims Get Prison for Mandalay Riots Killing

By Nang Seng Nom 31 December 2014

RANGOON — A Mandalay district court on Tuesday handed down prison sentences with hard labor for 11 Muslims implicated in the killing of a Buddhist man in a bout of interreligious violence that hit Mandalay earlier this year.

“The 11 accused of involvement in the case were given 10 to 13 years’ imprisonment, respectively. Some of them were charged with aiding and abetting the killing and some with carrying weapons, but they were not charged with murder,” said Thein Than Oo, a lawyer who represented one of the defendants, Myint Oo.

Five of the accused were wrongfully sentenced to prison, the lawyer claimed, adding that he would appeal their verdicts.

Thein Than Oo told The Irrawaddy that seven prime suspects in the murder case were still at large and arrest warrants have been issued for them.

Early July’s violence came after erroneous rumors circulated on Facebook claiming that a Buddhist maid had been raped by her Muslim employers. The woman later confessed to having falsely accused her employers, but not before two days of rioting in Burma’s second largest city that saw two men killed, one Buddhist and one Muslim.

“My father and brother were not involved in the crime. My brother Naing Lin Tun was still in Yangon when the violence broke out on July 2. He only arrived in Mandalay on July 3,” Ko Phyo, the son of Myint Oo, told The Irrawaddy.

“My father was summoned by the police on July 27 and my brother Naing Lin Tun accompanied him to the police station and both of them were arrested,” he said.

Mawlawi Kham Lay, Aung Zaw Tun and Than Win were given 12 years and six months’ imprisonment. Aung Khant, Tun Tun, Thiha, Myint Oo, Naing Lin Tun, Aung Myat Oo and Ye Htet Aung all received 10-year sentences, and Zaw Htwe was given 13 years.

The Buddhist victim, Tun Tun, was 36 years old.

In October, four Buddhists accused of complicity in the killing of Soe Min Htwe, the Muslim man, during the Mandalay violence were sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Tun Tun and Soe Min Htwe were just the latest victims of interreligious violence in Burma, which has flared periodically since 2012, when more than 100 people, mostly Muslims, were killed in Arakan State.