On the November 14 last year, the Myanmar military rounded up the village of ‘Ye Dwin Chaung’ and arrested more than 200 innocent Rohingya men taking refuge in the village to escape from arbitrary arrests in its neighboring villages — such as ‘Pwin Phyu Chaung’ and ‘Kyar Gaung Taunt.’ They were detained without sufficient foods to eat and brutally tortured in the cells of the Border Guard Police (BGP) headquarter for two weeks.
Afterwards, they were transferred to the Buthidaung prison, where the authorities have tortured them less but detained them without providing critically required medical treatments; and regular and proper meals since then.
It has been learnt that the authorities are now putting the victims on arbitrary trials under four criminal charges — such as Section 302 (Murder), Section 17/1 (Unlawful Association Act), Section 324 (Voluntarily Causing Hurt by Dangerous Weapons) and one more — and using the office of the clerks of the Buthidaung Township Administration as an alternative courtroom for the trial.
The victims were apparently given the rights to hire their own lawyers.
“The victims have been allowed to hire their own lawyers. But winning margin of their cases are extremely slim, according to some lawyers, as all the prosecutors and the witnesses are the military themselves”, said a man, related to a victim charged under the false cases, while speaking to Rohingya Vision on the condition of anonymity.
The man further added “hundreds of other victims arrested and sentenced to long-term imprisonments earlier didn’t even get the right to know under what charges they were jailed. Neither did the lawyers working for Maungdaw High Court. The Judge made to the place of the detention and just read out the verdicts and terms of the imprisonments to the victims”
More than 1,500 innocent village men have been arrested and detained or imprisoned since the Myanmar military and the Border Guard Police began the so-called “Region Clearance Operation” in Maungdaw on October 9, 2016. Many of whom have been reported to have either died by falling sick due to ruthless tortures or been mercilessly killed after the arrests.