ARTICLE 19 welcomes today’s release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Reuters journalists who were arrested in December 2017 while researching a massacre of Rohingya men and boys by state security forces. Earlier this year, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were named winners of the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting alongside their Reuters colleagues.
In September 2018, the pair were convicted under the repressive colonial-era Official Secrets Act, despite evidence that they had been targeted in a poorly concealed entrapment plot. The case was appealed to the Supreme Court where the conviction was upheld on 23 April 2019.
Commenting on the release, Matthew Bugher, ARTICLE 19’s Head of Asia Programme, said: “The decision to release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is long overdue, but nevertheless welcome. It’s a tragedy that these two men have been separated from their families for the past year-and-a-half, and we commend the government for bringing this absurd episode to an end. Authorities must now turn their attention to reforming the laws and policies that facilitate this type of judicial harassment and restrict the space for independent reporting.”