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Myanmar: Plea for the freeing of Reuters reporters mounts | World news
Demands the liberation of two Reuters reporters who have been detained in Myanmar for more than six month before an important hearings at their Monday trials. In December, Waelone and Kyaw Soe Oo were imprisoned for their coverage, which revealed a Rohingya slaughter.
These men are now in jail for up to 14 years for having secret papers related to naval operation in the state of Rakhine, which they dispute. They were arrested on 12 December after meeting in a local restaurants with policemen's resources and receiving the papers. Since then, they have been kept in jail while the pre-trials are under way.
Solicitors are looking for counts of indictment under the Official Secrecy Act. Defense attorney Than Zaw Aung said this weekend that the tribunal will listen to a request for dismissal from the defense and then determine whether or not the case continues. Stephen Alder, editor-in-chief of Reuters, demanded an end to the charge last weekend.
Throughout their detention, both reporters have stayed upbeat. Awa Lone is known for giving a two-fingered" thumb up" when he goes to justice, and Kyaw Soe Oo for taking every chance to hug his little girl as he steps in and out of the courts. "I firmly believe the truths will come out," Wa Lone said in cuffs and left the courthouse on June 18.
It has uncovered ongoing controls on the Myanmar army. Mathew Bugher, leader of the Asia Programme for Article 19, a group defending free speech, said the administration had shown that it "will do everything in its power to shut up those who are trying to uncover the facts about the serious state of Rakhine's people.
Thirty five investigators were detained or indicted under the present administration, and Hline Thint Zaw Wai said that the present case shows that the administration is lacking the will to defend investigators. De facto Aung San Suu Kyi recently broken her case in an audio commentary with the NHK television station in Japan, saying that the reporter was "arrested for violating the Official Secret Act".
Moe Yan Naing, head of state, confessed in April that the papers were placed on Wa Lone to "catch" the newsman. He was sentenced to one year in prison for breaching law and order. Even his wife and daughter were driven out of their homes.
Recently, a testimony from former testimonies was charged with breaking the law. An eyewitness who testified against the two Reuters reporters also did not appear in trial on June 12. During May, information was taken from journalists' telephones and presented to the tribunal.
Southeast Asian project journalist Shawn Crispin criticized this information treatment and said it endangers the privacy of the source. The Myanmar administration spokesperson, Zaw Htay, was not immediately available when asked to give his opinion on the case. Earlier, he said he confided in the Myanmar court that they would lead the case under the Act.
The newest faces on a Yangon walls devoted to Yangon detainees are Walt Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. "I recall Daw Aung San Suu Kyi saying that one Zaw Moe is already too many of them, " says Zaw Moe, who served five years in jail for taking part in the students' outcry.