>> A Myanmar district court rejected bail for two jailed Reuters reporters on Thursday. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are accused of violating the country's Official Secrets Act. The two reporters had worked on Reuters coverage of the Rohingya Muslim crisis in Rakhine state. Where the UN says an army crackdown on insurgents since August triggered the fight of 688,000 people into neighboring Bangladesh.
They were detained in mid-December after being invited to meet police officers over dinner in Yangon. Both told relatives they were arrested almost immediately after being handed documents at a restaurant by two officers they had not met before. However, at the last hearing, the first witness, a police lieutenant.
Said he was told the two were arrested while walking along the road, carrying official documents. He said those included details about a police battalion in Rakhine. Defense lawyers had told the court that the documents contained information already made public in newspaper reports. And that the police witness could not point to evidence the reporters were acting for the enemy or hostile forces.
The court was full on Thursday with diplomats from the US, Britain, France, and other Embassy's as well as UN and EU officials. Staff from the Danish Embassy in Myanmar attended the last hearing. Where they said, quote, many inconsistencies in the material put before the court to substantiate the charges were revealed.
The next hearing will be on February 6th.