Meyamar

McMeyamar

Newsman Reuters reporter indicted for violating Myanmar's Colonial-Era Secrets Act Mr YANGON (Reuters) - A Myanmar tribunal on Monday indicted two detained Reuters investigators for having received classified state records, bringing the groundbreaking case of media freedoms into its judicial phase after six month of pretrial. Ye Lwin, county magistrate, accused reporter Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, of violating the Official Secrets Act of colonisation, which provides for a 14-year jail sentence.

They both argued "not guilty" and told the judges that they had "followed the ethic of journalism". Talking to reporter after the verdict, Wa Lone said he and Kyaw Soe Oo hadn' t done a felony and would witness their virginity in a trial. Principal plaintiff Kyaw Min Aung exited the building before the press could ask him about it.

Reuter's president and editor-in-chief Stephen J. Adler described the case against the reporter as "groundless". "These Reuters correspondents did their job in an unrelated and unbiased manner, and there is no fact or proof that they did anything wrong or broke a law," he said in a declaration.

The Myanmar spokesperson Zaw Htay did not respond to phone requests for comments following Monday's verdict. Reporter relatives, among them Kyaw Soe Oo's two-year-old girl and Wa Lone's expectant mother, were sitting next to them in the tribunal full of embassies and media. Prosecutors had been charged by the tribunal against both reporter under section 3.1(c) of the Act to prove the assertions of persecution that they were collecting and obtaining classified documentation concerning the police with the intent to damage homeland safety.

Defenders will bring testimonies before the court, which, according to law enforcement officials, will then give a ruling in a trial that will take several months. Defender Khin Maung Zaw said both journalists would appear as testimonies at the next trial.

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