Skip to main content

Buddhists convicted of Muslim massacre in Myanmar

By Ramy Inocencio and Phyo Wai Lin
updated 5:22 AM EDT, Fri July 12, 2013
Buddhist monks in Meiktila, Myanmar, where violence between Muslims and Buddhists left 43 dead in March 2013.
Buddhist monks in Meiktila, Myanmar, where violence between Muslims and Buddhists left 43 dead in March 2013.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Myanmar convicts 22 Buddhists for anti-Muslim violence, bloodshed in March
  • At least 43 people died, thousands displaces in central city of Meiktila
  • Riots began March 20, lasted for three days, until state of emergency declared
  • Myanmar, also known as Burma, is on path of democratic, economic reform

(CNN) -- Myanmar's courts convicted 22 Buddhists this week for sparking anti-Muslim violence and bloodshed in March, according to a state-run newspaper.

At least 43 people died and thousands more were displaced as a result of violence in the city of Meiktila, in central Myanmar, with the Muslim population sustaining the bulk of the casualties.

Those convicted this week received prison terms ranging from one to ten years in prison, including hard labor, the state-run New Light of Myanmar reported.

Ethnic violence threatening Myanmar?
Toll rises from Myanmar unrest
Why Buddhists, Muslims clash in Myanmar

Anti-Muslim sectarian attacks in Meiktila began March 20, reportedly after an argument between a Muslim gold shop owner and two Buddhist sellers. The wave of violence that swept the city included beatings, arson and immolations. Many Muslims claimed local police took no action to stop the riots.

After three days, President Thein Sein declared a state of emergency, allowing the military to enter the city and restore order.

Sein said the government did not intervene immediately in order to avoid endangering the country's "ongoing democratic transition and reform efforts."

"I would like to warn all political opportunists and religious extremists who try to exploit the noble teachings of these religions, and have tried to plant hatred among people of different faiths for their own self-interest: Their efforts will not be tolerated," he said.

This week's convictions continue to highlight the fragility of ethnic relations in Myanmar, also known as Burma, as it emerges from decades of military repression. Authorities have released thousands of political prisoners and pursued peace talks with rebel groups in the past two years.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
updated 10:21 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
The first human trial of an experimental Ebola vaccine has produced promising results, U.S. scientists said.
updated 9:15 AM EST, Thu November 27, 2014
Darren Wilson, the police officer who fatally shot unarmed black teen in August abandoned home after address made public.
updated 5:36 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
HBO -- backing a documentary based on "Going Clear," a book about Scientology and Hollywood -- isn't taking any chances with legal side.
updated 2:35 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Grandmaster Nguyen Van Chieu has devoted his adult life to spreading the word about Vietnames martial art, Vovinam.
updated 1:47 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
England cricketer Nick Compton shares insight into "drive and courage" it takes to face fears as top batsman.
updated 7:59 PM EST, Wed November 26, 2014
Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson says he was just doing his "job right" when he shot and killed black teenager Michael Brown.
updated 8:18 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
The interior of the Formosa Boulevard Mass Rapid Transit Station in Kaohsiung, in southern Taiwan.
Stunning stations where your first priority won't be finding the nearest exit.
updated 6:18 PM EST, Tue November 25, 2014
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says women's "nature is different," sparking fury.
updated 5:43 AM EST, Mon November 24, 2014
A 30-year-old woman has been charged with attempting to kill a baby police say spent five days down a drain before being discovered by cyclists.
updated 8:21 PM EST, Thu November 20, 2014
If it wasn't for a comic's skit, Bill Cosby would still be America's favorite father, says expert.
updated 7:51 PM EST, Sun November 23, 2014
Where do hip young things hang out in Taiwan?
updated 10:50 AM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
Obama orders the most sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration in decades, prioritizing the deportation of "felons, not families."
updated 4:06 PM EST, Tue November 18, 2014
Fighters loyal to ISIS are now in control of Derna, a city on Libya's Mediterranean coast.
updated 6:19 PM EST, Fri November 21, 2014
China and likely other countries have the capacity to shut down the U.S. power grid, says the NSA.
updated 2:45 PM EST, Wed November 19, 2014
The founder of a U.S. nonprofit that works with returning soldiers is named CNN's Hero of the Year.
updated 12:54 PM EST, Fri November 28, 2014
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT