Litigation & Court Procedure

Lawyers for Reuters Journalists file Appeal to Overturn Sentence

Date: 06 November 2018; Type: Industry Updates; Source: Myanmar Times

Lawyers representing two Reuters’ journalists sentenced to seven years in prison for possessing classified documents filed an appeal against their conviction yesterday.

Than Zaw Aung, one of the lawyers representing Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, said the appeal was filed on the basis that the reporters were victims of entrapment by the police.

The reporters were sentenced by the Yangon Northern District Court on 3 September 2018.

“We believe that the appellate court will find many flaws with the verdict and sentence imposed by the trial judge. It will finally provide Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo justice, declare their innocence, and make clear that journalism in Myanmar is not a crime,” Than Zaw Aung said.

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement that the appeal was filed on behalf of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo because the trial court’s ruling was wrong.

“In condemning them as spies, it ignored compelling evidence of a police set-up, serious due-process violations, and the prosecution’s failure to prove any of the key elements of the crime. Contrary to Myanmar law, it shifted the burden of proof from the prosecution to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo,” the statement said.

“Now is the time for Myanmar to uphold its stated dedication to rule of law, freedom of the press, and democracy by ordering the release of our colleagues, whether on appeal or by granting the families’ request for a pardon,” Adler said.

Pan Ei Mon, Wa Lone’s wife said that the appeal is her final hope for her husband and she wants to be reunited with him as soon as possible.

“The lawyers informed me about the appeal but I don’t understand much the process of thr judiciary. All I know is that I really want to take him back home,” said Chit Su Win, Kyaw Soe Oo’s wife.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (also known as Moe Aung), both Myanmar reporters for the Reuters news agency, were arrested last December 12, and held incommunicado for several weeks before being charged under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

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