Journalists lose final court appeal in Myanmar
by Rachel Lynn Aldrich
Posted 4/23/19, 12:28 pm
Myanmar’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the final appeal of two Reuters journalists who reported on the military crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the country also known as Burma. The court upheld a seven-year prison sentence for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who, along with their colleagues, won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this month for their work. Authorities arrested Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, in December 2017. They were sentenced last September over accusations of illegally possessing official documents. The journalists denied the charges and said they were framed. The court did not provide a reason for upholding the ruling.
“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should never have been arrested, much less prosecuted, for doing their jobs as investigative journalists,” said Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director for New York–based Human Rights Watch. “Sadly, when it comes to media freedom, both Myanmar’s military and the civilian government seem equally determined to extinguish any ability to question their misrule and rights violations.”
The two journalists are being held at a prison in Yangon. Their lawyer, Khin Maung Zaw, said they could still petition the president’s office or legislature for a reduced sentence, retrial, or release.
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