Tuesday, September 04, 2018

No freedom of the press in Myanmar

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are journalists who helped publicise Myanmar's campaign of genocide in Rakhine state. And for doing their jobs as journalists and exposing that crime, they have now been sentenced to seven years imprisonment:

Two Reuters journalists arrested in Myanmar while investigating a massacre of Rohingya Muslims have been found guilty of breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, are being held in prison in Yangon after being arrested in December, in a landmark case that has prompted international outrage and been seen as a test of progress towards democracy in the south-east Asian country.

In his ruling, judge Ye Lwin said the men “tried many times to get their hands on secret documents and pass them to others. They did not behave like normal journalists.”

As he was led to a police van in handcuffs, Wa Lone said: “I have no fear. I have not done anything wrong … I believe in justice, democracy and freedom.” Kyaw Soe Oo hugged his wife while she was sobbing and held her until police took him away.

Imprisoning those who expose state crimes is the hallmark of tyranny. But that's exactly what Myanmar is: a repressive, genocidal tyranny. The sooner they are prosecuted by the International Criminal Court, the better.