February 8, 2017
Three Hlun Htein officers have been sentenced to two months detention in a special prison for police officials over a video showing them abusing Rohingya civilians in Dunsay, Rathedaung, security sources told AFP Wednesday.
The officer who gave out the information also told the news agency that the abuse of the Rohingyas was understandable and the Hlun Htein personal had no intention to harm.
"Police are dealing with many pressures on the ground and we have to risk our lives dealing with terrorists," AFP quoted the unmanned official. "They didn't have any intention to hurt them," said the source, "During the operation, villagers said abusive words to security forces... such action was taken because they failed to follow police procedure."
The prison were the Hlun Htein officials will be serving their sentence is especially designed for the police and they will not have to suffer the harsh conditions meant for general prisoners in Myanmar.
The sentencing however lenient is a departure from Myanmar’s blank cheque for atrocities committed by the country’s notorious security forces.
AFP also reported that three senior police including a major were also demoted and their service terms were reduced for failing to enforce discipline. The sentencings were given sometime last month.
Incidentally, a video leaked on social media in late December shows Hlun Htein personal beating Rohingya villagers, including a young boy while scores of others were forced to squat on the ground, hands behind their head. The video shot by one of the offenders, who has also been sentenced, quickly went viral prompting Aung San Suu Kyi, who had earlier denied atrocities committed against the Rohingyas, to quickly declare that action will be taken against the Hlun Htein men.
The prison sentences and conditions they will be serving is in marked contrast with the condition of Rohingya prisoners, many who had their eyes gouged out and wrists cut off after being arrested in the recent crackdown. Hundreds have died under torture in custody since security forces made mass arrests since the 2012 riots.
Rohingya observers have said the sentencing of the police officers are an eyewash for the international community and there has been no action taken against personal who have committed more serious crimes that include the killing of children and women.
The government led by Suu Kyi has refuted allegations of rape, murder and torture.