>> Only an hour passed between the arrest of two Reuters reporters in Myanmar and police seeking permission from the country's president to investigate them for a possible breach of its Official Secrets Act. On Tuesday, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were back in court in Yangon, as the prosecution's first witness, a police captain, began his testimony.
The defense lawyer for the pair said usually permission is requested after about a week, and handled by a lower minister's office. But in this case, the president's office authorized it the very next day. Myanmar's Ministry of Information has said citing police that the journalist was detained a month ago for possessing important and secret government documents related to the country's security services and Rakhine state.
And he obtained them illegally with the intent of sharing to foreign media. The reporters had worked on coverage of the crisis in Rakhine, where an army crackdown on insurgents that began in August triggered the flight of over 680,000 native Rohingya Muslims, according to the UN. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were detained on December 12 after being invited to meet police officers over dinner in the city of Yangong But they told their relatives that the arrest happened almost immediately after they were handed some documents at a restaurant by two police officers they'd never met before.
The governments of the United State, Britain, and Canada have lobbied for their release, along with the United Nations.>>
> If convicted, they face up to 14 years in prison. Reuters Editor in Chief Stephen Adler says, it's an unwarranted and blatant attack on press freedom.