Three NGO Employees Produced in Court, and Six Civilians Sentenced to 10 Years

Buthidaung: Three NGO employees were recently produced in court and six other individuals were sentenced to ten years in jail in Buthidaung, 80 miles north of the state capital Sittwe, reportedly on charges related to the recent violent unrest in the region.

Buthedaung-watch-tower, Arakan state.

“Three Muslim men, including U Saw Myint, were arrested in Buthidaung when the violent unrest was occurring in Maungdaw. They were the employees of the UNHCR here and they were produced in court on Thursday [26 July, 2012],” said a local resident who witnessed them being brought to court.

However, he said he did not know on what charges they were being prosecuted in the court.

“As an ordinary civilian, I dared not enter the court to listen to their hearing. So, I do not know exactly on what charges they are being put on trial for in the court. But when they were arrested, the authorities had charged them with agitating to unrest and connecting with exile-based illegal organizations,” he said.

The source also added that the court has adjourned until the next hearing in the coming week.

In reply to Narinjara, U Than Hlaine, a spokesperson from the RNDP office in Buthidaung, confirmed that three NGO workers were produced before the judge in Buthidaung Township court on Thursday.

In another lawsuit, six people, including U Zawki Ahmed, who were arrested on 8 June from Tharakpin Village in Buthidaung were reportedly sentenced to ten years in prison by the court on 18 July, 2012.

According to the resident source, they were sentenced by the court to three years in prison under Penal Code Section 148 related to rioting and being armed with deadly weapons, and an additional seven years in prison under Penal Code Section 506 for criminal intimidation that causes death or grievous hurt.

They were reportedly arrested while allegedly planning to carry out attacks in Buthidaung.

Narinjara has contacted the police station and the court in Buthidaung to confirm the two reports, but was cut off on the phone without receiving any answers.

According to town residents, there was no unrest occurring in Buthidaung, but some Muslims were arrested on allegations of plotting to carry out attacks in the area similar as in nearby Maungdaw.