Reuters reporters’ appeal gets rejected by an apex court in Myanmar

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An apex court of Myanmar has rejected an appeal on Friday, by two Reuters journalist jailed for seven years convicted of breaking a state secrets act in September.

Reporters Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, and Wa Lone, 32, were arrested in December 2017 in Yangon and later went for jail over violating the state secrets act, which was widely criticized by other countries and human rights organizations.

But during the ruling, Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said on Friday the verdict was “not wrong according to the law” and was a “reasonable decision”, and called their terms “a suitable punishment”, according to Reuters news reports.

The judge said, “The court decides to dismiss the appeal.” He said the defense has not provided enough evidence that the reporters were innocent.

The two reporters, who were not present at the time of the decision, insisted that they were allegedly victims of a police set-up. When they were arrested, reporters were investigating a massacre of about 10 Rohingya.

Reuters reports said the reporters were arrested as they were working on an investigation into the murder of ten Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s security forces in the western Rakhine state of Myanmar, during army crackdown in August last year.

The defense lawyer has claimed, “The arrest at the traffic stop is a lie. The truth is they were arrested in a setup. There cannot be legal action based on setup.”

Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler called the court’s rejection as “yet another injustice” against the two reporters. In an official statement, Adler said, “Reporting is not a crime, and until Myanmar rights this terrible wrong, the press in Myanmar is not free.”

The reporters can appeal to Myanmar’s Supreme Court which could take up to six months.

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