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    Myanmar gives jail term to three Muslims for minor crime

    A man stands in the courtyard of a
    partially-destroyed mosque after violence spread through central Myanmar, March
    28, 2013.

    PressTV:
    April 12, 2013
    A court in Myanmar sentences three Muslims to
    14 years in prison with hard labor for beating a Buddhist customer in a gold
    shop in the central town of Meiktila.
    The gold shop owner, his wife and an employee,
    were given the jail terms for hitting the customer in an argument over a gold
    hairpin in Meiktila on March 20.
    The argument sparked several days of violence
    against Muslims across the country. Over 40 people were killed and more than a
    thousand others injured. A number of mosques and homes of Muslims were also
    burned down in several towns in central Myanmar.
    Myanmar’s Islamic Religious Affairs Council
    and the Myanmar Muslim National Affairs Organisation later appealed to the
    government of President Thein Sein to take swift action to stop the ‘violent
    attacks.’
    On March 28, the UN Special Rapporteur on
    Human Rights in Myanmar, Tomas Ojea Quintana, said he had received reports that
    Myanmar’s soldiers and police sometimes stood by “while atrocities have been
    committed before their very eyes” by well-organized Buddhist mobs in the
    central city of Meiktila.
    The Muslim minority of Rohingyas in Myanmar
    accounts for about five percent of the country’s population of nearly 60
    million. The persecuted minority has faced torture, neglect, and repression
    since the country achieved independence in 1948.
    Last year, scores of Rohingyas were killed
    when Buddhist extremists carried out atrocities against Muslims in the western
    state of Rakhine. Thousands of Rohingyas were also displaced.
    Myanmar’s government has been repeatedly
    criticized for failing to protect the Rohingya Muslims.