A court in Myanmar on Monday convicted two Reuters journalists for breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act, 1923, and sentenced them to seven years in prison, reported AFP.
“The defendants...have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years,” Reuters quoted the judge as saying. “The time already served by the defendants from December 12 will be taken into consideration.”
On August 28, the court postponed the verdict in the case as the judge was unwell.
In July, a court charged Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo with breaching the colonial-era law that carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison. Both the journalists have been in jail since December. In April, the court refused to dismiss the case saying there was a “proper reason” for the charges against the journalists.
The journalists had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state’s Inn Din village during an Army crackdown in 2017. The two were arrested after they were invited to meet police officers for dinner in the north of Yangon. The Ministry of Information claimed they had “illegally acquired information with the intention to share it with foreign media”.
The case has drawn widespread international attention, with the United States, Britain and Canada as well as the United Nations calling for the reporters to be freed. “Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and press freedom anywhere,” said Reuters Editor-in-chief Stephen Adler, according to BBC.