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Myanmar’s Military Sentences Three Soldiers to 20 Years for Rape in Rakhine

A Myanmar military tribunal Friday sentenced three privates to 20 years for raping an ethnic Rakhine grandmother during army operations in her village in war-torn Rakhine state in June, the lawyer for the victim told RFA.

The two-year-long war between government forces and the rebel Arakan Army (AA), which is seeking greater autonomy in Rakhine, has killed more than 300 civilians and displaced about 226,000 others, many of whom are now living in temporary camps in the state.

After initially dismissing the sexual assault allegations after they were revealed in an RFA report in July, the military reversed course after the three soldiers confessed.  A military spokesperson at that time promised that the men would face military and civil charges.

“The military tribunal has sentenced the three privates today and the authorities said they will be transferred to civilian jail,” Mya Thuzar, the attorney for the plaintiff, told RFA’s Myanmar Service Friday after the proceedings in Rakhine’s capital Sittwe. They were charged with rape, abduction with the intent to rape, and abetting rape.

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