Myanmar charges journalists covering Rohingya crisis
by Onize Ohikere
Posted 1/10/18, 11:04 am
Prosecutors in Myanmar, also known as Burma, on Wednesday charged two journalists with the Reuters news agency for violating the Official Secrets Act, a crime that carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. Security forces arrested Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo on Dec. 12 after accusing them of collecting “important secret papers” from two policemen. The policemen work in Rakhine state, where security forces staged clearance operations last year that sent more than 650,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing into Bangladesh. Than Zaw Aung, the journalists’ lawyer, said the judge will review his request for bail during the next hearing on Jan. 23. “We are still far from the verdict,” he said. The arrests sparked international condemnation. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it showed the deteriorating state of press freedom in Burma. U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and former President Bill Clinton both called for the journalists’ release.
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Onize is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Abuja, Nigeria.