Two Reuters’ journalists Wa Lone (32) and Kyaw Soe Oo (28), who were arrested in December 2017 for uncovering a massacre of Rohingya villagers, on Monday, found guilty for possessing secret documents and have been condemned to seven years of jail.
They were investigating an incidence that involved mass killing of a number of Rohingya Villagers in Myanmar’s Rakhine state and was convicted to breach the Official Secret Act. The US has called this conflict as a kind of “ethnic cleansing” with the help of military operations that have forced around 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to migrate from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Both of the journalists entreated, in the court, that they have been entrapped by the Police as they were, in a restaurant at Yangon, were handed over a rolled paper document without a chance of reading it fully. Soon after, they got arrested by two plainclothes officers.
The Editor-in-Chief of Reuters, Stephen Adler, stating about the conviction was a “sad day” for the organization, he said, “the two men and the press everywhere must be corrected by the Myanmar government as a matter of urgency.”
One of the convicted journalists, Wa Lone, stating his state of despair on the court’s decision, said: “The decision makes me so upset. I didn’t do anything wrong.”
Knut Ostby, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar said, “The United Nations has consistently called for the release of the Reuters journalists and urged the authorities to respect their respect their right to pursue freedom of expression and information. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be allowed to return to their families and continue their work as journalists.”