Two Reuters reporters call on new President for pardon

29 March 2018
Two Reuters reporters call on new President for pardon
Detained Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo (C) is escorted by police as he holds his daughter during a break in the trial at the court in Yangon, Myanmar, 28 March 2018. Photo: Nyein Chan Naing/EPA-EFE

Two Reuters reporters called on the newly-elected President to settle the injustice of their case and request a pardon.  
The two Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were produced in court on 28 March for their 11th hearing during which three prosecution witnesses were examined.
One of two reporters in custody, Wa Lone aka Thet Oo Maung, said, “The reporters who are detained in Insein prison want to say to the new President who was elected today that we are reporters and we are in Insein prison for doing our job of covering news. We are facing trial for exposing injustices in the country. I believe this newly-elected President will support democracy, justice and press freedom seriously. So I’d like to ask him to settle these matters of press freedom and injustice in the country at the earliest opportunity.”
Advocate Than Zaw Aung who is representing two reporters said that he expected this newly elected President would exercise his power and authority to give pardon to the accused.
Advocate Than Zaw Aung said, “This new President dealt with a lot in rule of law and legal issues when he was the speaker of the Lower House. And an article in the constitution stipulates he has the authority and power to give pardon to the accused and defendants in trials.”
Three prosecution witnesses including a manager of a hotel where reporter Kyaw So Oo allegedly stayed were examined during the 28 March hearing.  
The three prosecution witnesses were called by police by phone and summons were sent via Viber app. According to statements given by these witnesses, the police could not produce a search warrant, court’s order, directive (sanction for prosecution) sent from the President Office in raiding and searching the hotel room.
The court fixed April 4 for next hearing and more prosecution witnesses will be examined on that day.
Two Reuters reporters, Walone aka Thet Oo Maung and Kyaw Soe Oo aka Moe Aung, were arrested on December 12, 2017 at about 9 p.m. with some copies of the report compiled by Maungdaw Police Battalions which were deployed for security there and then a case was registered against them under section 3 of the Official Secrets Act.  
Pol. Capt. Moe Yan Naing and Pol. Sgt. Khin Maung Lin from Police Battalion from security branch reportedly gave these documents to these two reporters.
Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act carries prison term of up to 14 years’ imprisonment.