Reuters journalists to learn fate of appeal on Friday

Reuters journalists Wa Lone (L) and Kyaw Soe Oo at the Reuters office in Yangon on Dec. 11. Photo: Antoni Slodkowski / Reuters

Two Reuters reporters jailed for their work uncovering a massacre committed by government troops in Northern Rakhine will find out on Friday if an appeal against their seven-year jail sentences has been successful.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Dec 2017 by plainclothes police outside a Northern Yangon restaurant, and charged with violating the Official Secrets Act for possession of classified documents they had just received from an ostensible whistleblower.

During court testimony, former police captain Moe Yan Naing alleged that Brigadier General Tin Ko Ko had “entrapped” the two journalists in a police sting. He was subsequently jailed for violating the Police Disciplinary act.

After what was widely condemned as a sham trial, the journalists’ lawyers filed appeals last month and yesterday told reporters that the ruling would be handed down on Friday.

“The decision for the Reuters appeal case will be given at 1pm at the High Court on Jan. 11,” lawyer Than Zaw Aung told AFP.

There are three possible outcomes: an upholding of their full sentence, a reduction in their jail terms, or freedom.

“We are hoping for the best and for their freedom,” their lawyer said.

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