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>> A Reuters reporter on trial in Myanmar says interrogation after he and a colleague were arrested did not focus on what they were accused of, obtaining secret state documents. Instead, in testimony this week, journalist Wa Lone said officers focused on the pair as reporting of a massacre of Rohingya Muslims.
His account was the most comprehensive challenge heard so far to accusations by the prosecution. They say Wa Lone and fellow reporter Kyaw Soe Oo were detained at a routine traffic stop, and found to be holding secret documents from an unknown source. Wa Lone described what he called a police trap to arrest them.
He says they were handcuffed outside a restaurant. There, he says they'd been handed documents by a police officer they'd not met before. He also says police deprived the pair of sleep for two days. Put hoods over their heads and drove them to a secret detention site, where they were held without contact for two weeks.
Wa Lone spoke outside the court.>>
> I am really satisfied that I had the chance to speak the truth to the court, although we told the authorities the truth, they didn't take note of that. At the time of their arrest, the pair had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a village in western Myanmar's Rakhine State.
That event took place during a military crack down. UN agencies say it led to more than 700,000 Rohingya fleeing over the border to Bangladesh last year. Wa Lone told the court that during the interrogations and officer offered negotiation over their arrest if they agreed not to publish the massacre's story.
He quoted the interrogators are saying, you are both Buddhist, why are you writing about Kalar at a time like this? They aren't citizens. The word Kalar is a derogatory term used to describe people of South Asian origin, especially Muslims. The Reuters journalists are on trial for allegedly breaching the Official Secrets Act.
It carries a maximum penalty of 14 years, both have pleaded not guilty. Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay has declined to comment through the proceedings, saying the courts are independent and the case would be conducted according to the law.