Myanmar: Reuters reporters jailed for 7 years over secrets act

A court in Myanmar has sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison for violating a state secrets act while investigating violence against Rohingyas.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested while carrying official documents which had just been given to them by police officers.

They have maintained their innocence, saying they were set up by police.

The journalists were looking into the deaths of 10 Rohingya at the hands of soldiers and Buddhist villagers in Inn Din, a village in the north of the state. After being invited to a dinner by officers, they were detained.

Prosecutors accused the journalists of obtaining secret state documents, in breach of the Official Secrets Act. The journalists said they were framed by police who gave them the documents during the dinner, and that they were targeted for their reporting. Kyaw Soe Oo said that while being investigated he was deprived of sleep, forced to kneel for hours and had a black hood placed over his head.

“I have no fear,” Wa Lone said after the verdict. “I have not done anything wrong. I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.”

The two men, who both have families with young children, have been in prison since their arrest in December 2017.

“Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and press freedom anywhere,” said Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler.