Reuters Reporters Jailed For 7 Years In Landmark Myanmar Secrets Case

Reuters Reporters Jailed For 7 Years In Landmark Myanmar Secrets Case

Reuters Reporters Jailed For 7 Years In Landmark Myanmar Secrets Case

"As they committed an offence under the state secrets act, they are sentenced to seven years in prison each", the judge told the court.

Wa Lone's wife and daughter, born last month, were not present in the court.

The pair had been investigating a massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys in western Rakhine State, from where more than 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims fled military operations which the United Nations last week said amounted to genocide.

"We will be in court tomorrow (Monday) to hear the final decision on the journalists' case", he said.

"The culprits meant to harm the interests of the state".

A spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May said: "We are extremely disappointed with this verdict and sentencing and we call for the journalists to be released immediately".

"These sentences mark a new low for press freedom and further backsliding on rights under Suu Kyi's government". In mere weeks from August a year ago, some 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh - and remain there today in overcrowded camps.

The pair's boss, Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler said that the conviction was "a sad day" for the organization, the two men and "the press everywhere". "We know what we did - it was just to get information (for our reporting)", said Wa Lone after the guilty verdict, surrounded by a throng of journalists and photographers, before he was once again hastily pushed back into a police van and brought to Yangon's notorious Insein prison.

They had told the court they were arrested after being invited to dinner by police in Yangon, who handed them documents.

"I think one has to ask will this process increase or decrease the confidence the people of Myanmar have in their justice system".

Britain's ambassador, Dan Chugg, said the case "struck a hammer blow to the rule of law" in the country and called for the journalists to be released.

"Without any evidence of wrongdoing and in the face of compelling evidence of a police set-up, today's ruling condemns them to the continued loss of their freedom and condones the misconduct of security forces". Documents in their possession and on their phones were "not public information".

The two journalists had been reporting previous year on the brutal crackdown by security forces on the Rohingya in Myanmar's Rakhine state.

The group Reporters Without Borders denounced the "sham trial", which it said had dealt "a awful blow to press freedom in Myanmar".

Kyaw Soe Oo's wife, Chit Su Win, burst into tears after the verdict, and family members had to support her as she left the court. Moments later, other officers arrested them, Reuters reported.

Two journalists from the global news agency Reuters were jailed in Myanmar on Monday.

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.

Brad Adams, Asia director of Human Rights Watch, also issued a statement, saying: "The outrageous convictions of the Reuters journalists show Myanmar courts' willingness to muzzle those reporting on military atrocities".

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