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]>> Myanmar has put off a verdict for two Reuters journalists accused of collecting state secrets. On Monday a court official said the judge is in poor health, and the decision won't be announced until a week later on September 3rd. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo talk to the media after spending only a few minutes in court.
>> No matter what the circumstances, we are not going to be scared. Justice is on our side since we did not do anything wrong.>> The two journalists had been investigating the killing of ten Rohingya Muslims at the time of their arrest. A police witness has testified that the two were set up, to block or punish them for their reporting.
Myanmar's crack down on Rohingya Muslims has sparked outrage overseas, and sent 700,000 refugees across the border to neighboring Bangladesh. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were accused of breaching the official Secrets Act, for collecting documents relating to the country's security forces. They told the court they had met two police officers at a restaurant in Yangon last December.
The officers had handed them some papers, and moments later, they were arrested. The verdict's delay means a longer wait until the two reporters find out if they can return to their families. Kyaw Soe Oo has a three year old daughter, and Wa Lone's wife gave birth to their first daughter while he was detained.
Reuters President and Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler, responded to the delay, saying, we are disappointed not to have received the judge's decision today. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have already spent more than eight months in prison based on allegations of a crime they did not commit. The landmark case is widely seen as a test of progression toward democracy in Myanmar.
It comes as Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi and her government face pressure over the crackdown on Rohingya. Soldiers are accused of killings, rape and arson. The UN has called it a quote, textbook example of ethnic cleansing. Myanmar denies most of these claims, however they have acknowledged the massacre that the two reporters had been investigating.
Back at the Courthouse, the journalist's defense lawyer hinted that there may be political reasons to dely the verdict. Reminding the media that on Tuesday, the United Nations Security Council is do to hold a briefing on Myanmar.