Myanmar sparks global outrage by sentencing journalists


The United Nations, the European Union and press freedom advocates worldwide have reacted with dismay to the jailing of two Reuters journalists under Myanmar’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act, and called on the government to release them. 

Knut Ostby, United Nations’ Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Myanmar, said in an official statement shared via Twitter that “a free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all. We are disappointed by today’s court decision.”

EU ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Myanmar Kristian Schmidt also took to Twitter to say: “The prison sentences of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be reviewed and they should be released immediately and unconditionally.”

UK ambassador to Burma Dan Chugg — who was in court for the verdict — said the case has “struck a hammer-blow to the rule of law in Myanmar”. (New York Times)

New UN human rights chief, former Chile president and torture survivor Michelle Bachelet urged Myanmar to free the Reuters reporters.

A court in Yangon sentenced Monday morning two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, to seven years in prison for violating a state secrets act while investigating Rohingya minority deaths.

Both journalists maintain their innocence and have said they were set up by police.

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“Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and press freedom anywhere,” said Reuters editor in chief Stephen Adler.

Read our previous coverage of this story here:

Why Rohingya are world’s ‘most-persecuted minority’

Rohingya crisis a replay of ‘Operation Nagamin’ from 40 years ago

Destroyed villages and political turmoil keep Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

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Detained Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo leave Insein court after listening to the verdict in Yangon, Myanmar September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
Detained Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo leave Insein court after listening to the verdict in Yangon, Myanmar September 3, 2018. REUTERS/Stringer
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