Burmese journalists lose appeal over Rohingya exposé sentence
- Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act
- Lawyers can now appeal to the Supreme Court in
Supreme Court in Myanmar, a process that could take an estimated six months.
- The violent military campaign in 2017 forced more than 720,000 Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh, with refugees bringing accounts of murder, rape, and arson.
Two Reuters reporters, jailed after investigating the killing of several Rohingya Muslims, will remain in prison, Myanmar’s highest court ruled Tuesday.
“They were sentenced for seven years and this decision stands, and the appeal is rejected,” Supreme Court Justice Soe Naing told the court, according to Reuters
Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said was trumped up to muzzle their reporting.
Prosecutors say the two had classified information regarding security operations in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during an army-led crackdown the United Nations has dubbed “ethnic cleansing”.
Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said Friday the original verdict was “not wrong according to the law” and was a “reasonable decision”.
In their defence the two journalists say that they were victims of a deliberate set-up, apparently intended to intimidate and deter investigation of what the UN has called a “textbook case of ethnic cleansing”.