Seven Myanmar soldiers who were jailed for killing 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys were released early, ultimately serving less time than two journalists who exposed their crimes, Reuters reports.
Several sources including two prison officials and two former fellow inmates confirmed to the news agency that the soldiers had their sentences cut short. They were reportedly freed last November, less than a year into the 10-year term they received.
Two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who exposed the September 2017 massacre, spent 16 months behind bars before being pardoned earlier this month. The pair, recognized in TIME’s 2018 Person of the Year issue as “Guardians of Truth,” were sentenced in February 2018 to seven years under the Official Secrets Act.
The 2017 military operation in Rahkine forced the exile of more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh as soldiers pillaged and burned entire villages. Women and girls were gang raped by soldiers during the crackdown. The U.N. has called for several of Myanmar’s military leaders to face charges of genocide.
The seven soldiers jailed for their involvement in the massacre were the only security personnel the military has said it has punished over the operation, according to Reuters.