70 Rohingya Sentenced In Irrawaddy Region

By Network Media Group
Saturday, April 29, 2023

The military council sentenced a number of Rohingya arrested at sea to two years’ imprisonment in a prison in Nga Pu Taw Township in Irrawaddy Region.

After immigration and police officers launched an investigation, they were convicted by the township’s court on 26 April, a lawyer told NMG. “These people were not able to defend themselves in court.”

The authorities charged a total of 70 people with violating Article 63/a of the Immigration Act.

Among them are 26 male minors who will be sent to the Nget Aw San Youth Rehabilitation Centre and two children under 7 will be sent to the Children’s Rehabilitation School, while the remaining 42 adults will be sent to Pathein Prison. Of the group, 58 are male and 12 are female.

The Rohingya fled from displaced camps in Sittwe, Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships in Rakhine State in search of work. They were arrested by Burma Navy and police near Nga Yok Kawng town in Nga Pu Taw Township on 19 April on their way to Malaysia.

“These people have lost their rights as citizens. They have left their homes to seek work for their survival,” explained a male member of the Myanmar Muslim Youth Network.

The immigration department has reportedly informed the police to hand over 35 mobile phones and $530 seized from the group to the trustees of a local Muslim mosque.

According to a source close to the police, the officers also seized the two motorboats in which the group was being transported and seven drivers, all of whom are Bamar (Burmese), and charged them under the Anti-Human Trafficking Law.

Last year, over 700 Rohingya were arrested in the Irrawaddy Region and 500 of them have already received sentences.

In Burma, most Rohingya are denied citizenship and freedom of movement even though they were born in the country. Before the military’s 2016-17 displacement campaigns forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh and the 2015 crisis, about 1.4 million Rohingya lived in Burma. A UN fact-finding mission has found that the military’s 2017 operation in Rakhine State involved “genocidal acts”.