Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi Thursday said the two jailed journalists can appeal the verdict, reported news agency Reuters. The journalists, working for Reuters, were last week, sentenced to seven years of imprisonment under the official secrets law amid mounting international criticism.
Reacting to the verdict, Suu Kyi said, “If anybody feels there has been a miscarriage of justice I would like them to point it out. I wonder whether very many people have actually read the summary of the judgement which had nothing to do with freedom of expression at all, it had to do with an Official Secrets Act.” “”If we believe in the rule of law, they have every right to appeal the judgment and to point out why the judgement was wrong,” she added. She was addressing the plenary session of the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Vietnam.
Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, and Wa Lone, 32, the two journalists had been reporting on brutal crackdown and alleged ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine state of Myanmar against the Rohingya by the Myanmar Army.
According to Reuters, Wa Lone told the court that the documents he is accused of breaking state secrets laws to obtain were planted by a police officer, who handed him papers he ha
d not sought in order to entrap him. Wa Lone had told the court that he followed the journalistic ethics in his reporting of the Rohingya massacre. Lone said that he had not reviewed the documents properly before he was arrested, so could not speak about their contents. He repeatedly said he had not violated Myanmar media law.
The case has drawn worldwide attention as an example of how press freedom is suffering under the government of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. After the verdict, several democratic activists and journalists slammed Suu Kyi and said that the reporters were being punished for just doing their job.
“Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the press everywhere,” Reuters Editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler said after the verdict. According to the agency, the two journalists were detained in Myanmar on December 12, 2017. At the time of their arrests, they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a village in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
This article was first published on http://www.wakeuppost.com.