Danish Embassy of Myanmar: Reuters journalists were set up, release them now!

“WA LONE AND KYAW SOE OO WERE SET UP, RELEASE THEM NOW”

This unusual statement comes from the Danish Embassy of Myanmar, who urges the Myanmar judicial system to release two jailed Reuters journalist when they appear before the court today.

Kutupalong Refugee Camp hosting the Rohingyan refugees. Photo: John Owens

The journalists were jailed after publishing a thorough article on the killing of ten Rohingya-men in the Inn Din village in northern Rakhine State. They are accused of possessing secret government papers, though they have told relatives that they were arrested shortly after being handed the documents at a meeting in a restaurant.

As of today, the Reuters journalists have been jailed for 135 days, and will appear for the court for the 12th time.

The charges relies on the colonial-era Officials Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.

The statement reads as follows:

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are due in court again today after having been behind bars for 19 weeks for doing their job as reporters, helping to uncover how Myanmar’s security forces were involved in the killing of 10 Muslim men in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine State. Seven soldiers guilty of these crimes have received sentences of 10 years in prison.

Last week, Police Captain Moe Yan Naing, at great personal risk, confirmed during testimony what has been apparent to most impartial observers since their arrest, namely that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were set up by the police.

The truth has finally come out and the decision the judge must take is obvious: Bring this shameful process to an end and release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo now. Show the world that rule of law does exist in Myanmar.

The story the two journalists published can be read here. It’s fair to warn readers that it contains very graphic images, but it is also, in this author’s humble opinion, one of the best examples of thorough, critical investigative journalism.

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