The top court of Myanmar on Tuesday rejected the appeals of two Reuters journalists who were sentenced to prison for allegedly breaking the Official Secrets Act, reports said. In January, the Yangon High Court had rejected an appeal.
In September 2018, a lower court in Myanmar convicted reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and sentenced them to seven years in jail for allegedly leaking official secrets. The duo were 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. Both journalists have been in jail since December 2017.
The journalists were arrested for reportedly carrying official documents handed to them by police officers. Both have maintained their innocence and claimed that the authorities set them up. In their appeal to the top court, the journalists had cited lack of proof of a crime. A policeman had earlier told the court that officers had planted secret documents on the two reporters.
“They were sentenced for seven years and this decision stands, and the appeal is rejected,” Supreme Court Justice Soe Naing said, according to Reuters.
Gail Gove, Reuters chief counsel, said there was no proof that the reporters had committed the crime. “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,” Gove said in a statement, according to AP.
The journalists’ investigation uncovering the involvement of security forces in killings, arson and looting was completed by their colleagues and published in 2018. The report won the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting last week.