Myanmar: Two journalists, who covered Rohingya violence, jailed for 7-years

Wa Lone center gives two thumbs up as he is escorted by police to a courtroom for his on going trial in Yangon

Wa Lone center gives two thumbs up as he is escorted by police to a courtroom for his on going trial in Yangon

Earlier on Monday a Myanmar judge found Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years. The birth heightened outrage at the pair's incarceration in a case widely seen by rights groups as a sham.

"I'm sad for Wa lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their families, but also for Myanmar".

But Suu Kyi's reputation as a defender of human rights has been shredded by her refusal to speak out against the military for its handling of the Rohingya crisis or in support of the jailed reporters.

The reporters had told the court two police officials handed them papers at a north Yangon restaurant moments before other officers arrested them. The defence can appeal the decision to a regional court and then the supreme court.

The small courtroom was cramped with family members, local and foreign journalists, and diplomats, including the U.S. and British ambassadors in Myanmar.

The BBC said that many would see this verdict as a crushing blow to freedom of the press in Myanmar and another setback for the democracy, three years after Aung San Suu Kyi's party triumphed in free elections.

Reuters journalist Wa Lone departs Insein court after his verdict announcement in Yangon, Myanmar, September 3, 2018.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo had been investigating an army-led massacre of ten Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din village of northern Rakhine State in September past year.

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The arrests of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have sparked global outrage among free speech and human rights activists, who saw the case as Myanmar's first real test of freedom of expression after embracing democracy in 2016 after decades under repressive military rule.

The journalists have maintained their innocence, saying they were set up by the police. Yanghee Lee, the United Nations' special rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar, said on Twitter.

Adler said Reuters would consider "whether to seek relief in an worldwide forum".

Myanmar has responded harshly to those who challenge the official narrative that government forces were simply responding to militants by embarking on a massive operation in Rakhine last August, sending nearly 900,000 mostly Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh. "They must release the arrested journalists", he added.

Kristian Schmidt, EU ambassador to Myanmar, in a post on Twitter, said the prison sentences of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo should be "reviewed and they should be released immediately and unconditionally".

The two journalists have been imprisoned for the past nine months after their arrests on December 12 while investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim and other abuses involving Myanmar soldiers and Police. But in the country at large, with an overwhelming Buddhist majority, there is widespread prejudice against the Rohingya, and in the government and military, there is near-xenophobic sensitivity to foreign criticism.

The journalists had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state's Inn Din village during an Army crackdown in 2017.

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