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Burma Tribunal ranks Reuters reporter can face full lawsuit
YANGON, Myanmar - A Myanmar tribunal on Monday filed formal charges against two Reuters investigators for having illegal information and having their case brought to a full trial." Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's case went through several month-long trials to see if there was enough proof for the charges that were disputed by the film-makers.
Twenty-two journalists were charged with infringing the Official Secrets Act, a statute dating back to imperial settlement time, and if convicted, could get up to 14 years in jail. In December, they were imprisoned because the tribunal rejected their application for release on deposit.
Apparently, they were attacked by the police because their work involved the brutality of the police against the Rohingya Muslim minorities in Myanmar's Rakhine state. They had been working on an inquiry into the murder of 10 Rohingya people in Inn Din community, for whom the administration said seven troops were convicted of up to 10 years in jail with forced labour.
Newspapers claimed they were set up by the cops, a statement backed by a policeman informant, Moe Yan Naing. He was arrested for breaking the law on disciplinary measures and his wife and daughter were ordered to leave theirs.
"We' committed no crimes," Wa Lone told reporters outside the trial room. Said his answer to the judge's ruling was: Today's verdict does not mean that we are culpable. "Reuters asked the agencies to free both of them. "It is a great disappointment that the tribunal has refused to end this lengthy and unfounded trial of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Those Reuters reporters did their job in an unrelated and unbiased manner, and there is no facts or proof to suggest that they have done anything bad or violated any law," Stephen J. Adler, Reuters' chairman and editor-in-chief, said in a statement. Surely there are no facts or evidences to suggest that they have done anything bad. "Today's ruling raises serious doubts about Myanmar's engagement for media freedoms and the constitutional state.
Myanmar's action against the Rohingya has been severely criticized at the international level, include the accusation of having carried out ethnical clean-up. In addition, denouncing the court's ruling on Monday were those of concern to humanitarian groups and organisations of free speech. "It is a dark night for Myanmar's media freedom," said Tirana Hassan, head of Amnesty International's rapid-reaction.
"This absurd, political case has profoundly worrying and far-reaching consequences for sovereign press in the state. Myanmar's Freedom of Speech Group said the court's ruling "upheld a serious injustice and called into question the Myanmar judiciary's independence". "The group said in a declaration that the regime must act resolutely to defend reporters, encourage responsibility for violation of fundamental freedoms and end the politicisation of Myanmar's penal system.