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    Six Muslims jailed over violence in Burma’s Meiktila

    Carrying belongings Muslims refugees get off a vehicle as they arrive at a rescue camp in Meikhtila about 550 kilometers (340 miles) north of Yangon, Myanmar, Friday, March.22, 2013. (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)

     May
    21, 2013

    Six Muslim
    men have been jailed for their role in religious clashes in the Burmese town of
    Meiktila in March.

    One of the
    men was jailed for 34 years for killing a monk; the others received sentences
    ranging from two to 14 years for crimes including unlawful assembly and
    religious disrespect.

    At least 43
    people – mostly Muslim – died in the violence that erupted after an argument at
    a Muslim-owned shop.

    So far no
    Buddhists have been convicted in connection with the deadly clashes.

    The monk was
    knocked down from his motorbike by a group of Muslim men, beaten and killed,
    according to reports.

    Apart from
    the monk, Meiktila’s violence was almost entirely directed against the Muslim
    minority. It sparked small outbreaks of violence in at least three other towns
    and left more than 12,000 Muslims displaced.

    The owner of
    the gold shop where the initial argument took place, his wife and an employee
    were convicted of theft and assault in April. A boy was also convicted
    alongside the six Muslim men.

    Despite
    damning video evidence of Muslim homes and mosques being burnt and people being
    hacked to death, justice for the Buddhists is proving much slower, reports the
    BBC’s Jonah Fisher.

    More than 40
    Buddhists are thought to be in prison but a lawyer told the BBC that their
    court cases were still in their early stages.

    The clashes
    in Meiktila were the worst since ethnic violence in Rakhine state last year,
    where nearly 200 people were killed and tens of thousands forced from their
    homes.

    The conflict
    that erupted in Rakhine involved Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims, who are not
    recognised as Burmese citizens.

    The
    communities remain largely segregated in the wake of the violence, with many
    displaced Rohingya Muslims living in tents or temporary camps.