Myanmar reporters jailed for seven years in landmark secrets case

WORLD

YANGON : A Myanmar judge on Monday found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin said Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act when they collected and obtained confidential documents.

“The defendants … have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years,” the judge said, adding that the time served since they were detained on Dec. 12 would be taken into account. The defense can appeal the decision to the regional court and then the supreme court.

The two reporters had pleaded not guilty and told the court police planted documents on them in the course of their work in reporting on Myanmar’s violence-plagued Rakhine State.