Yangon, April 11 (AFP) Seven soldiers in Myanmar were sentenced for their part in the extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men, according to a Facebook post by the army chief late on Tuesday.
The bloody incident in Inn Din village on 2 September is the only atrocity to which the military has admitted during its violent crackdown in northern Rakhine state which has forced some 700,000 Rohingya to flee over the border into Bangladesh since August last year.
Two Myanmar Reuters journalists, Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were investigating the massacre when they were arrested in December on the outskirts of Yangon for possessing classified documents that could land them up to 14 years in jail if convicted.
A month after their detention, the military issued a statement in a rare admission of wrongdoing that some of its security forces had been involved in the killing and pledging to take action against those responsible.
“Four officers have been purged (from the army) and given a 10 year prison sentence with hard labour. A further three soldiers were purged and given a 10 year prison sentence with hard labour in a criminal prison,” the post read.
The tribunal took place behind closed doors, ignoring international calls for an independent inquiry.
The arrest of the Reuters journalists has provoked global outrage with calls for the pair’s release echoing around the world as they wait to hear whether the court will throw out their case on Wednesday.
Their report described how Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers executed the 10 men before dumping their bodies into a mass grave.
The account was based on testimony from Buddhist villagers, security officers and relatives of the slain men.
It included photographs of the victims, hands bound and kneeling on the floor before the killing — and of their bodies in a pit afterwards.