Yangon, May 7: Jailed for more than 500 days after being convicted by Myanmar court for allegedly breaking the Official Secrets Act, two Reuters journalists - Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo - walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday, said the news agency. These two journalists were convicted in September last year and sentenced to seven years in jail.
Announcing the verdict, the Myanmar court found Wa Lone (33) and Kyaw Soe Oo (29) guilty of breaking the Official Secrets Act. The conviction was based on the case that raised questions about Myanmar’s progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates, reports Reuters. Reuters Journalists' 7-Year Jail Term For Violating Official Secrets Act Upheld by Myanmar Court.
Claiming that these two journalists had not committed any crime, Reuters had called for their release. In a customary in Myanmar for authorities to free prisoners across the country around the time of the traditional New Year - began on April 17 - these two journalists were freed along with thousands of other prisoners by President Win Myint.
Earlier, before being arrested and convicted, these two journalists were working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar’s Rakhine State during an army crackdown - began in August 2017. According to UN estimates, in that operation, more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeings to Bangladesh.
Though being applied for bail by the journalists in January, their petitions were rejected by the Yangon High Court. Later they appeared in Myanmar’s Supreme Court in April, but was rejected again.
Months after their report - featuring testimony from perpetrators, witnesses and families of the victims - Pulitzer Prize for international reporting was awarded to them in May, which adds to a number of accolades received by the pair for their journalism.