Two Reuters journalists investigating Rohingya killings jailed for 7 years by Myanmar court

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A court in Myanmar sentenced two journalists from news agency Reuters to seven years of imprisonment amid mounting international criticism. The ruling came under the official secrets law for illegal possession of official documents.Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, and Wa Lone, 32, the two journalists contending that they were framed by the police had pleaded not guilty to the colonial era law. The two reporters have been reporting on brutal crackdown and alleged ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine state of Myanmar against the Rohingya by the Myanmar Army. Reacting to the development, Reuters Editor-in-chief Stephen J Adler said, “Today is a sad day for Myanmar, Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, and the press everywhere.” 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. The climax of the case comes amid building pressure on the administration of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi over a security crackdown in the western state of Rakhine that was sparked by militant attacks in August 2017. Later in the day, a UN-mandated fact-finding mission is set to release a report on the crackdown, which triggered the exodus of more than 700,000 stateless Muslim Rohingya, according to UN agencies.According to Reuters, the journalist 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 had 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.