U.S. Embassy raps continued detention of Reuters journalists

Reuters journalist Wa Lone in handcuffs talks to the media as he leaves the court after the trial in Yangon on 10 January 2018. Photo: Thet Ko/Mizzima

The US embassy in Yangon has issued a press statement expressing concern about the continued detention of the two Reuters journalists following charges made under the Official Secrets Act made in court on January 10.

According to the press statement: “We are disappointed by today’s decision to pursue charges against Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo under the Official Secrets Act. For democracy to succeed and flourish, journalists must be able to do their jobs. We call for their immediate release.”

Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were arrested a month ago under the Official Secrets Act after they allegedly were given classified documents by two policemen over dinner.

The pair had been reporting on the military campaign in the northern Rakhine state that has forced some 655,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee over the border to Bangladesh since August, violence the UN has condemned as ethnic cleansing.

As AFP notes, the issue is incendiary inside Myanmar, where authorities deny any wrongdoing during an army crackdown on terrorists from the Muslim minority. 

Additional reporting from AFP

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