>> Lawyers for two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar launched an appeal on Monday. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were convicted in September on charges of breaching the country's official secrets act. Their Monday appeal against that conviction cited evidence of a police setup and lack of proof of a crime.
The two were found guilty after a trial at a Yangon district court that's raised questions about Myanmar's progress towards democracy. They were sentenced to seven years in prison. In a statement, Reuters President and Editor-in-Chief, Stephen J Adler said, we filed an appeal because the trial court's ruling was wrong.
In condemning them as spies, it ignored compelling evidence of a police setup, serious due process violations, and the prosecution's failure to prove any of the key elements of the crime. In September, Myanmar's leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, said that the jailing of the reporters had nothing to do with freedom of expression.
She said they'd been arrested for handling official secrets. The spokesman for Myanmar's government declined to comment on Monday's appeal. Before their arrest, the reporters had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of ten Rohingya Muslim men by security forces and local Buddhists in Rakhine State. An army crackdown that began in August last year, has sent more than 700,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.
If the court rules to allow the appeal an apologist would take arguments from prosecution and defense lawyers before handing down a decision.