Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo: Reuters Journalists Freed in Myanmar

5/7/2019

Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were jailed in Myanmar for their reporting on the Rohingya crisis, have been released after a presidential amnesty. They spent more than 500 days in prison on the outskirts of Yangon after they were convicted under the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in jail last September. Their jailing was seen as an assault on press freedom.

They had been collecting evidence about the murders of 10 Rohingya men by the army in the village of Inn Din in northern Rakhine in September 2017. They were arrested before the report's publication, after being handed some documents by two policemen whom they had met at a restaurant for the first time. A police witness testified during the trial that the restaurant meeting was a set-up to entrap the journalists.

As he left the prison, Wa Lone vowed to continue his reporting and said he was excited to return to work. The journalists were released along with thousands of other prisoners as part of mass amnesties that take place annually around new year in Myanmar. Reuters' Editor-in-chief said the reporters, who won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize for their work last month, had become "symbols" of press freedom.

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