Republished with permission by Knowhere News
Two Reuters reporters accused of leaking sensitive government materials while reporting on Myanmar’s Rohingya refugee crisis will stand trial, a judge ruled Monday.
The trial will start July 16. If the reporters are found guilty, they will serve up to 14 years in jail.
Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were apprehended while investigating last year’s killings of Rohingya Muslims, which were carried out by both soldiers and civilians. Their reporting reportedly violated the country’s strict secrecy laws.
A judge ruled Monday that there was sufficient evidence to take the case to trial, despite objections by defense lawyers.
Authorities arrested the pair of journalists in a December 2017 sting operation. The journalists stand accused of possessing classified documents linked to operations in Rakhine state, a focal point of Myanmar’s political turmoil.
The pair have now been in custody for nearly seven months. The journalists have attended pre-trial hearings and have both pleaded not guilty.
Western diplomats and rights groups say the case is a litmus test for the country’s shift toward democracy under the stewardship of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. The military, however, still wields immense power.