Seven Muslim men were sentenced to jail on Tuesday for the murder of a Buddhist monk, whose death reportedly spawned a wave of religious unrest across central Myanmar in March.
The defendants, including a minor, were jailed on several charges including murder, incitement to murder, arson and damage to public property, AFP reports.
The primary suspect, Myat Ko Ko, received life imprisonment – equivalent to 20 years – and four more years for other charges. The rest received jail terms ranging between two and 28 years, while the juvenile was sentenced to seven years in prison.
No Buddhists have been convicted in connection with the riots in Meiktila, which left at least 44 people dead and thousands homeless.
Mandalay region advocate general Ye Aung Myint insisted that both sides were being treated equally, AFP reports.
“We are sentencing people according to the law based on evidence presented at trial. We have no bias at all based on religion,” he said, adding that a total of 87 people had been arrested in the Meiktila area, including about 38 Buddhists.