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Myanmar: Freelance Reuters Journalists, Drop Case

The Myanmar government should have released two Reuters reporters who were arrested for the investigation of a Rohingya Muslim slaughter and dropped the case against them, Human Rights Watch said today. A Yangon tribunal will be hearing the last case on 2 July 2018 as to whether Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, are to be indicted under the 1923 Official Secrets Act, which provides for a jail term of up to 14 years.

Journals were apprehended on December 12, 2017, after being summoned by policemen to rendezvous at a Yangon restaurants, where they were given paperwork supposedly related to Rakhine's northerly Rakhine forensics. Myanmar PD said reporters were apprehended for "illegally procuring and holding federal documents" with the intention of "sending them to a press office abroad".

" The two men have been detained without deposit for more than six month, while there is proof of policing and contradictory formal bank records. Before being arrested, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo investigated the murder of 10 Rohingya men and young men by the Burmese army in the Burmese town of Inn Din in the state of Rakhine in September 2017.

On the basis of their February survey, the detailed account released by Mr Re-uters reconstructed the timeline of the assault on the basis of reports from members of the armed forces and village people who took part in the war. On 25 June, the European Union and Canada penalised the commander of a detachment and a paraamilitary policeman corps who committed the attacks in Inn Din.

From January 2018, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been attending week-long interrogations in a Yangon court building while being detained in the infamous Insein Prison, rejecting their applications for deposit and release. Testimonies about the bust point to a case of incarceration. Last April, a lieutenant commander said that General Tin Ko Ko Ko had ordered the policemen to "capture" the reporters by giving them "secret documents" as an excuse for their arrests.

Soon after the statement, the master was condemned to one year in jail under the law on disciplinary measures and his wife and daughter were driven out of the administration building. In the case of the public prosecutor's office, there are discrepancies and anomalies that indicate a possible misbehaviour in the initial policing. Speaking during the interrogations, one detention official said that he was not aware of the orderly detention record, while another confessed that he had burnt his detention record.

Another testimony to the prosecutor's office has written the place where the cops claimed that the detention took place on his hands. Policemen also presented as proof papers, which they argue were found on the phone of the reporter, which were raided without warrent. Defenders have claimed that the information provided by law enforcement officials to investigators was already publicly available at the moment of detention.

Walt Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are charged with having violated Section 3(1)(c) of the Law on Professional Secrecy of the Colonization Period, which provides for a 14 year limit for anyone who "receives, gathers, logs, or discloses a confidential piece of information or notifies another person" who "may be useful to an enemy".

Specifically, 3, paragraph 1, letter c) does not demand that the behaviour leads to an effective damage for normal domestic safety or even represents a considerable inconvenience. Too far-reaching and ambiguous rules should be changed in order to penalise only behaviour that is shown to constitute a specific threat to the safety of the nation and to remove the penal ties imposed on reporters and other non-state persons receiving information.

The defenders said that after their arrests, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were kept in solitary confinement for two consecutive week, during which they had to spend long periods of time asleep. Dismissed, he demanded that all evidences collected through mistreatment be discarded. Pursuant to both common interna-tional laws and conventions on the rule of thumb, the use of coercion and other coercion, involving longer periods of detention in order to obtain information from prisoners, is forbidden.

Art. 15 of the United Nations Convention against torture, which Myanmar has not yet done so, provides that "any testimony made as a consequence of the use of force of law may not be used as proof in any trial", a limitation which is also set out in the UN Human Rights Committee's General Comment 32 on the Right to a Just Procedure.

Myanmar's Inn Din was one of several attacks by Myanmar's army during its ethnical purge operation in the north of Rakhine State, which has forced more than 720,000 Rohingya to escape to neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017. On several occasions, the authorities have rejected claims of violent abuse and banned unauthorised persons, such as the UN missions and the UN Special Representative on MYHR.

Whereas the administration has asserted that it will take steps against abused police forces when they present "concrete evidence", the only case in which troops for crime perpetrated in Rakhine State since August refers to the massacres of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

The Myanmar administration in January reported that it was examining the murders of "10 Bengali terrorists" in Inn Din using a pejorative concept for Rohingya. In April, seven troops were condemned to 10 years in jail for participating in the slaughter the regime described as a refusal to "hand over" the ten men and young men to the policemen and claimed to be legally detained members of the militants of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA).

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