Myanmar: Two Reuters journalists who have investigated Rohingya killings have been sentenced to 7 years of jail on Monday after the court found them guilty of breaching law on state secrets.
The Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin sentenced Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, to seven years of jail term after the Myanmar court found them guilty of breaching Official Secrets Act after they collected and obtained confidential documents.
“The defendants…have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years. The time already served by the defendants from December 12 will be taken into consideration,” the judge said.
Criticising the Judge’s sentence, the Press freedom advocates and many nations including United States, Canada and Australia, the United Nations, the European Union have called for the Journalists acquittal.
“Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the press everywhere,” said Reuters editor in chief Stephen J Adler in a statement.
The two journalists were entrapped said one of the Police witnesses who testified the restaurant’s meeting was a set-up to block them from reporting on the mass killing of Rohingya Muslims.
One of the two arrested Journalists, Wa Lone speaking on the verdict said: “I have no fear.”
“I have not done anything wrong….I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.”
The two journalists have been imprisoned for the past nine months after their arrests on December 12 while investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim and other abuses involving Myanmar soldiers and Police. The new verdict gives them an additional 7 years of jail term.
Kyaw Soe Oo has a three-year-old daughter and Wa Lone’s wife, Pan Ei Mon, gave birth to their first child last month and yet, the duo could not see their families.
According to United Nations Agencies, more than 700,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims fled across western Myanmar’s border with Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, though nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were displaced, Myanmar has been denying the atrocities the country has subjected its own people to, saying it only conducted a legitimate counterinsurgency operation against Muslim militants.
As if there was not one but 700,000 Muslim militants in the region for which the country had to conduct such a mass killing operation.
While A UN-mandated fact-finding mission said last week that Myanmar’s military had carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and called for top generals prosecution, Myanmar has rejected the findings.