June 20, 2019

Myanmar Court Upholds Convictions of Two Reuters Journalists

During their trial, the two men described how in December 2017 they had been urgently called to a meeting with a police official who, after eating dinner with them, handed them a newspaper with documents rolled up inside. They were arrested immediately afterward.

The documents, along with phone numbers and files from the journalists’ phones and homes, became key pieces of evidence against them. One witness said the materials were public at the time of the arrest, and a police captain even testified that the actions against the men were a setup. That captain, U Moe Yan Naing, was later punished with a year in prison for violating police disciplinary rules.

The judge found that the journalists had possessed secret materials that they intended to publish, which could harm the state. Myanmar’s High Court ruled on Friday that their seven-year sentence was appropriate.

Human rights advocates said the appeals process repeated the shortcomings of their trial.

“The case against these two journalists should never have proceeded, much less resulted in a conviction,” Phil Robertson, the deputy Asia director for Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. “The appeals court process looks like it was just a rerun of the previous injustice done to these two reporters who dared investigate what the military wanted to keep hidden.”

Mr. Wa Lone and Mr. Kyaw Soe Oo were described by colleagues as idealistic young journalists who had embraced Myanmar’s expanding freedoms to report on important stories, including a violent campaign by the country’s military and Buddhist mobs against the primarily Muslim Rohingya ethnic group in the country’s northwest.

Article source: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/world/asia/reuters-journalists-sentence-myanmar.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

Speak Your Mind