On Tuesday, Myanmar’s Supreme Court rejected the appeals of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters who have been jailed in the country since December 2017, accused of disseminating state secrets pertinent to national security.
The landmark case in which the journalists were sentenced to seven years behind bars last September has become a symbol of Myanmar’s crumbling press freedoms.
In a statement sent to HuffPost following the court’s latest ruling, Reuters chief counsel Gail Gove described the allegations as a sham.
“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not commit any crime, nor was there any proof that they did,” she said. “Instead, they were victims of a police setup to silence their truthful reporting. We will continue to do all we can to free them as soon as possible.”
At the time of their arrests, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were investigating the massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine, a state on the country’s western coast. According to the report, the killings were carried out by Myanmar troops and Buddhist villagers.
The article was one within a trove published by the reporters as they covered the murders of Rohingya Muslims, which the
When Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were apprehended, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the arrests were likely “
During their sentencing, Judge Ye Lwin claimed it was determined that “
The rejected appeals have sparked backlash from the other members of the press and free speech advocates.
Committee to Protect Journalists senior Southeast Asia representative Shawn Crispin condemned the court’s ruling.
“Myanmar authorities have committed a grave injustice to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their families, and criminalized independent journalism,”
Responding to the news in a tweet, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who staked her career on international reporting, pointed out that the captive reporters had recently won a Pulitzer Prize for their work.
“Myanmar has seriously damaged even the pretense of a transition to democracy,” she wrote. “We appeal for their immediate freedom.”
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are now