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Reuters journalists charged with violating Myanmar law

Abrar Hussain

Two journalists from the Reuters news agency were charged by Myanmar prosecutors with violating the Official Secrets Act on Wednesday despite international condemnation, reports Abc News.Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 after they were accused of breaking colonial-era law by acquiring “important secret papers” from two policemen who had worked in the Rakhine State. Protesting the arrest of their colleagues, dozens of journalists wore black and waited outside the court on Wednesday.”This is unacceptable,” Wa Lone said from the back of a police truck after the brief hearing. “I want to tell you that that they are charging us like this to stop us finding the truth. Their actions are wrong and unfair.”The journalists’ lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, said that if convicted, the pair face up to 14 years in prison. Aung said he appealed for the two to be immediately released on bail, but the judge said he would review that request and rule at the next hearing on Jan. 23. “We are still far from the verdict,” he said.Aung San Suu Kyi’s use of colonial-era laws to threaten and imprison journalists has been met with criticisms from rights and media groups. Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said he was “extremely disappointed” by the charges and called for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to be released immediately.”We view this as a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom,” Adler said in a statement. “Our colleagues should be allowed to return to their jobs reporting on events in Myanmar.”
Source: Abc News

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