Burma Jails Two Reuters Journalists for 7 Years in ‘Official Secrets’ Case

A court in Burma sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison Monday in a controversial “official secrets” case that critics say sets the country back from its path to democracy. The verdict and sentence, read out by Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin, was immediately met with international outrage. Journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were found guilty of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act by collecting confidential documents in their reporting on Burma’s violent crackdown against the Rohingya in Rakhine state. The two had pleaded not guilty and said they were framed by police. Reuters editor-in-chief Stephen Adler condemned the sentencing as a “sad day” for “the press everywhere” and said the charges were “designed to silence their reporting and intimidate the press.” The U.S. Embassy in Burma denounced the verdict, calling it “deeply troubling.” The verdict was also slammed by the European Union and United Nations, whose top human rights body last week accused Burmese military officials of carrying out genocide against the Rohingya.