Two Reuters journalists covering crimes against Rohingya arrested in Myanmar

Adjust Comment Print

Prosecutors formally charged the journalists under the act in court on Wednesday.

Kristian Schmidt, representative of the European Union in Yangon, has sent a letter to Myanmar's de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, urging the government to release the two immediately, noting the arrest "amounts to serious intimidation against journalists in general".

The lawyer for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo says they were arrested shortly after receiving documents from police officers they were having dinner with.

Than Zaw Aung said he appealed for the two to be immediately released on bail, but the judge said he would review that request and rule at the next hearing on January 23.

Police Lieutenant Colonel Yu Naing, the plaintiff, did not show up on Wednesday.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested on December 12, after they were invited to meet police for dinner in Yangon, on suspicion of violating the Official Secrets Act.

"We will take action against those policemen and also the reporters". It said they had "illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media".

"All 12 of the outpatient therapeutic treatment centers run by our partners are closed because they were either looted, destroyed or staff can't access them", she said. Wa Lone wrote a children's book and co-founded a charity that promotes tolerance between different ethnic groups and helps orphans.

"None of the claims made by the authorities, in this case, seems to be credible", said Daniel Bastard, the head of RSF's Asia-Pacific desk.

Pressure from prominent individuals in the worldwide community and rights groups is mounting on the Myanmar government to release two Reuters journalists detained in December on charges of violating the country's colonial-era Official Secrets Act, with former U.S. President Bill Clinton now calling for their immediate release.

"We are not doing anything wrong", Mr. Kyaw Soe Oo told journalists after the hearing.

"For democracy to succeed and flourish, journalists must be able to do their jobs", the embassy statement added.

Reuters president and Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement that he was "extremely disappointed" by the ruling.

Fellow journalists appeared in the courtroom Wednesday in support of the pair.

UNICEF spokesperson Marixie Mercado (seen below), told journalists in Geneva that prior to August 25, UNICEF had been treating 4,800 children suffering from severe acute malnutrition, and that these children were no longer receiving the life-saving treatment. "Please help us by uncovering the truth". The court extended their custody at an initial hearing on December 27 while their charges were investigated.

The accused men, 31-year-old Wa Lone and 27-year-old Kyaw Soe Oo, were led into the district court with their wrists in iron chains.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

Phil Robertson of the group Human Rights Watch said that "if Aung San Suu Kyi and her government really cared about democratic reforms and governance, they could use their parliamentary majority to quickly reform this antiquated colonial law and bring it into compliance with worldwide human rights standards".

Comments