Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Journalists in Myanmar Freed
“Myanmar’s Supreme Court had rejected the two Reuters journalists’ final appeal in April,” notes Reuters when it published the happy story an hour ago. Amal Clooney, lawyer for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo said she had petitioned the Myanmar’s top court, citing evidence of a police set-up and lack of proof of a crime, after the Yangon High Court dismissed her earlier appeal in January.
Reuters’ Poppy McPherson and Simon Lewis write today about their colleagues that both their wives had written “a letter to the government in April pleading for a pardon, not, they said, because their husbands had done anything wrong, but because it would allow them to be released from prison and reunited with their families.”
Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 coming from court in Yangon – Photo Credit: Reuters
The United Nations, conducting a detailed investigation, partly because of the media reports coming from Wa Lone and coleague Kyaw Soe Oo issued a report that completely vindicates the reportage of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Amal Clooney, a human rights defender and lawyer for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters journalists who have been imprisoned in Myanmar since last September for doing their jobs, in January this year come back from a Myanmar Court with sad news.
An appeal of the journos’ 7-year-prison conviction for “spying” was upheld again in April despite police fabricating evidence and a series of other miscarriages of justice.
Not quite so extraordinary, President Win Myint has pardoned thousands of prisoners in mass amnesties as part of an April 17 ‘New Year’ celebration. It has only now been made public that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are on the list.
Reuters has said the two men did not commit any crime and had called for their release.
UN Investigators – Marzuki Darusman, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti – underlined the horrific and organized nature of the brutality meted out on civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since 2011, as well as Kachin and Shan states:
“The fact-finding Mission has concluded, on reasonable grounds, that the patterns of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law that it is found, amount to the gravest crime under international law,” Mr. Sidoti said.
“These have principally been committed by the military, the Tatmadaw,” he added, referring to Myanmar’s armed forces. “The Mission has concluded that criminal investigation and prosecution is warranted, focusing on the top Tatmadaw generals, in relation to the three categories of crimes under international law; genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.”
FPMag had campaigned for Wa Lone’s and Kyaw Soe Oo’s release.
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