Reuters today issued the following statement regarding jailed reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo after lawyers delivered final arguments to a Myanmar court
“The evidence before the court is clear: Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are two honest reporters who did not commit a crime. Imprisoning them for even one more day would be unlawful retribution for their truthful and important journalism. We look forward to the court’s acquittal, which will be an important step towards demonstrating Myanmar’s commitment to rule of law, freedom of the press, and democracy.”
Summary of Reuters argument for acquittal:
The court should acquit Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. The evidence shows they were set up by Myanmar police in an effort to silence their reporting on misconduct by security forces in Rakhine State. A prosecution witness testified that a police officer planted documents on the journalists moments before their arrest. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had no knowledge of the documents’ contents, which weren’t “secret” at all; they had already been published in government newspapers. There’s no proof of any kind that the Reuters reporters intended to harm Myanmar or aid its enemies. Applying Myanmar law, there’s no basis for a conviction. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be released immediately.
Mansi dot Walia at thomsonreuters dot com
[Reuters PR Blog Post]