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THE HILL: Top Myanmar court rejects jailed Reuters journalists' final appeal

Washington, April 23, 2019 | comments
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BY MICHAEL BURKE - 04/23/19 09:22 AM EDT

Click here to read on THE HILL. 

The highest court in Myanmar on Tuesday rejected the appeals of two Reuters journalists who were sentenced last year to seven years in jail.

“They were sentenced for seven years and this decision stands, and the appeal is rejected,” Supreme Court Justice Soe Naing said Tuesday, according to Reuters.

Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, were arrested in December 2017 and sentenced last year after a judge ruled they violated the law during by obtaining secret documents during their reporting on the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

The journalists are being held in prison and weren't at Tuesday's ruling, Reuters reported.

Reuters chief counsel Gail Gove in a statement Tuesday denied wrongdoing by the two reporters, who have said they were set up by police.

“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not commit any crime, nor was there any proof that they did,” Gove told Reuters. “Instead, they were victims of a police set-up to silence their truthful reporting. We will continue to do all we can to free them as soon as possible.”

The imprisonment of the reporters has sparked concern among advocates for a free press.

The U.S Embassy in Yangon said in a statement to Reuters that Tuesday's ruling "point to an increasing intolerance for free speech in Myanmar."

“Journalism, satire, peaceful protest, and other forms of legitimate expression should not be crimes in a democratic society,” the statement read.

In December, the U.S. House overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling on Myanmar to release the journalists.

The resolution was passed by a 394-1 vote after being introduced by Rep. Steve Chabot (R-Ohio). 

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