Thu 5 Dec 2013
Filed under: News,Regional,Religion
An Indonesian court Wednesday jailed 14 Muslim Rohingya men from Myanmar for nine months each for bludgeoning eight Buddhists from their country to death in an Indonesian detention centre.
The Rohingya asylum-seekers in April killed the Buddhist men, who had been detained for illegally fishing in Indonesian waters, as sectarian tensions in their home country flared.
The Rohingyas, aged 18 to 37, accused the fishermen of sexually harassing two Rohingya women and said the Buddhists started the violence in the detention centre, in the port town of Belawan near Medan city on Sumatra island.
“The defendants have been proven legally and convincingly guilty of working together to blatantly carry out violence, which resulted in the loss of human lives,” chief judge Aksir told the Medan district court.
“We sentenced them to nine months in prison,” he said.
The sentence was lighter than the two-year term sought by prosecutors and the maximum penalty for violence resulting in death, which is 12 years.
The men, along with 100 Indonesian Muslim supporters, chanted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greater) in the court room after the light sentences were handed down.
According to court documents, a fisherman had tried to stab one of the Rohingya men, who retaliated by hitting him with a broomstick.