Myanmar: Two Reuters Reporters Sentenced To Seven Years In Prison For Reporting On Rohingya ‘Genocide’

The Logical Indian Crew

September 3rd, 2018 / 6:57 PM

Myanmar Reuters Reporters

Image Credits: Kannada Prabha

A Myanmar court on September 3 found two Reuters reporters guilty and sentenced them to seven years in prison for illegal possession of documents. While giving the verdict presiding judge Ye Lwin stated that the reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act. This landmark judgement has drawn criticism from the western countries and press freedom activists alike who are considering this development as a blow to the freedom of the press in Myanmar.


How were the Reuters reporters arrested?

According to BBC, both Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 are Myanmar nationals who were working as reporters for the international news agency. They were reporting on the murder of 10 Rohingya men by the army in the village of Inn Din in northern Rakhine in Myanmar. Before the report could get published, the duo was arrested by the police moments after being handed some documents by two policemen whom the two reporters had met at a restaurant for the first time.

Reportedly, both the reporters, who have young daughters have been behind the bars for nearly nine months, the duration of which is to be deducted from their 7-year-long prison sentences, observed the judge.


Myanmar: Two Journalists Reporting On Rohingya Muslims Arrested For Violating State Secrets Act

At the time of their arrest they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men. They face up to 14 yrs in prison if convicted.

Posted by The Logical Indian on Wednesday, July 11, 2018


Not pleading guilty under the Official Secrets Act

According to Al Jazeera, both the reporters had pleaded not guilty and held their ground while contending that they were framed by the police. In fact, one police official even testified to the fact that the restaurant meeting was set up to entrap the reporters for reporting on the atrocity of the Rohingya men. The police official was then jailed for a year for violating police regulations.

The reporters also testified that both of them were just doing their work and functioning like normal reporters and that they did not solicit any secret document. As several appeals for bail had earlier been rejected, the only way out is for the defence to appeal to the regional court first and then the Supreme Court.

The archaic act, under which the reporters have been arrested was set in place by the British in 1923 which makes the sharing of any kind of information held by the government a criminal offence. The specific charges against the reporters come from section 3 of the said act which accuses the two of passing information that could be ‘useful to enemy.’


Court decision drew flak

A number of countries including the USA, UK and Bangladesh among others as well as human rights groups have demanded the immediate release of the journalists, reported Al Jazeera. Additionally, the European Union’s foreign policy service condemned the move and said that it undermines freedom of the media as well as the development of the rule of law in the country. The EU has also demanded immediate acquittal of the two reporters.

According to the Times Of India, Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler said, “Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo journalists, and the press everywhere.”

The decision comes amidst the release of a United Nations-led study which accuses the country’s army chief of “genocide” among other charges which led to the ongoing humanitarian crisis for the now stateless Rohingya Muslims. About 7,00,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee the country after the security officials launched a brutal crackdown as a response to a Rohingya militant group attacking several police posts last year.

Addressing the media after the sentencing, Kyaw Soe Oo said, “What I want to say to the government is: you can put us in jail, but do not close the eyes and ears of the people.”


Also Read: Know About The Rohingyas: “One Of The Most Persecuted Minorities In The World”


Contributors

Written by : Sromona Bhattacharyya

Edited by : Abhinav Joshi

Share your thoughts..

Related Stories

Iran Headscarf

Iran: Woman Sentenced To Two Years In Prison For Removing Headscarf In Public

Pakistan: Former PM Nawaz Sharif Sentenced To Ten Years In Prison

West Bengal: Revenge Porn Victim Gets Justice As Accused Sentenced To Five-Years In Prison

Rohingya Muslims

Sikh Volunteers From India Travel To Bangladesh-Myanmar Border To Help The Rohingya Refugees

Two Journalists Sentenced To One Year In Jail By Karnataka State Assembly For “Defamatory” Articles

Rwandan Genocide

On Its 23rd Anniversary, Know About The Rwandan Genocide, Which Killed 800,000 Innocent People

Latest on The Logical Indian

News

Indian Govt Proposed Reliance Name For Rafale Deal, We Didn’t Have A Say In This: Ex-French President

News

Journalist Arrested For Satire On Konark Temple, Odisha Govt Passes Privilege Motion Demanding Action

Get Inspired

Rats Sniff Out Landmines And Save Thousands Of Lives In Africa & Asia, Also Detect Tuberculosis

News

WB: 2 Youths Died As Police Allegedly Open Fired At Students Protesting Urdu Teachers’ Recruitment

My Story

My Story: “Carrying Kirpans Is Even By The Constitution Of India But Why Do I Have To Explain It Everytime?”

Get Inspired

Pune: Hindus, Muslims Come Together To Hold Ganesh Chaturthi & Muharram Proceedings In Same Pandal

x

Stories that deserve attention, delivered to your inbox!

Handpicked, newsworthy stories which deserve the attention of a rational generation.