Burma Times Correspondent: June 26, 2015
A huge number of Rohingya migrants rescued from the two ships have been sentenced to five years for trafficking Bangladeshis.
One source claimed that as many as two hundred boat people will be locked up for five years under the case no 113.
The Maungdaw Criminal Court passed the sentences on Thursday.
The accused have been transferred to the Buthidaung jail.
Families of the accused fear they will be tortured in this infamous prison. Hundreds of Muslims have been tortured in the prisons of Arakan state since the 2012 riots.
Following international pressure, the navy ‘rescued’ two ships full of trafficking victims from the coast. The government had repeatedly denied international criticism over its treatment of the Muslim population and instead maintained that the migrants were Bangladeshis escaping poverty in their country.
When the first ship was taken to Hashurata in Maungdaw South, around 150 migrants identified as Rohingyas were whisked away before the media and NGOs arrived on the scene.
As the affair blew over, the government was more careful in dealing with the second ship with more than seven hundred migrants found off the coat of the Irrawaddy region. Following the capture of a Bangladesh soldier, the government pressurised Bangladesh to id more than five hundred migrants as their nationals and take them back. When Bangladesh refused to bend under pressure, the government finally decided to charge Rohingya migrants as traffickers.
This way, the government wants to prove that the majority of the migrants are not Rohingyas.