Burmese journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, arrested a year ago while investigating a massacre of Rohingya, will file an appeal today with the seven-year prison sentence imposed on them by a court in Burma (Myanmar).
Both Reuters reporters are accused of violating the Official Secrets Law, a colonial-era rule, by receiving secret documents from some policemen in what they say was an enclosure.
"We are looking forward to demonstrating to the High Court of Myanmar why it should reverse the convictions of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo because of mistakes made in the trial of the court that sentenced them to seven years in prison," said Stephen Adler, managing director of the court today. Reuters
"These two journalists did not harm Myanmar in any way, on the contrary, they did an incredible service: complying with the freedoms promised under the Myanmar Constitution, they reported the truth," Adler said in a statement.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, aged 32 and 28, respectively, were detained on the night of December 12, 2017, in possession of confidential documents that, according to them, had just been delivered to them by two policemen with whom they had met.
Reporters were investigating a massacre of 10 rohinyas in a village in the Rakáin state (west) as part of an Army operation in August 2017 in response to a series of attacks by a Rohingya insurgent group on police posts.
The investigation caused seven soldiers to be sentenced in April this year to ten years in prison for the killing, the only abuse recognized by the Burmese authorities.
The government and the army reject the conclusions of a special commission of the UN, which in September described as genocide the military campaign that caused the exodus of more than 723,000 rohinyas to Bangladesh.
The Rohinyas are a Muslim majority community to which the authorities deny citizenship and live in a kind of apartheid in Rakáin.
On December 11, Reuters reporters were designated by Time magazine as People of the Year along with murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Filipino reporter Maria Ressa and the American newspaper Capital Gazette, where five workers were killed in a shootout last June.