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An Arakanese court has sentenced seven Buddhists each to seven years in jail over the killing of 10 Muslim pilgrims in an attack on a passenger bus in 2012, according to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur (DPA) news group, citing the men’s lawyer on Saturday.
The seven had appealed the sentence at the district court in Sandoway [Thandwe] in July. They were originally convicted of murder in May under Penal Code articles 302 and 34.
In an incident that was one of the main precursors of the communal violence erupting in Arakan State, in early June 2012 hundreds of people in Taunggup dragged ten individuals off a bus filled with Muslim pilgrims and beat them to death. The bus was then set ablaze as members of the mob urinated on the victims.
The attack was sparked by an incident the month before when three men, two of whom were assumed to be Muslim, were accused of raping and murdering a local Buddhist woman. Two of the suspects were sentenced to death while the third committed suicide in prison.
Arakanese police originally arrested 30 persons in connection with the lynching of the 10 Muslim pilgrims. Eye-witnesses reported that local police in Taunggup stood by and watched as the lynch mob murdered the pilgrims.