Myanmar Reuters journalists verdict postponed | News | DW | 27.08.2018
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Myanmar Reuters journalists verdict postponed

The ruling on two Reuters journalists detained in Myanmar on suspicion of violating a state secrets act had been expected on Monday. The judge had apparently become ill.

The verdict in the case against two Reuters journalists on trial in Myanmar has been postponed until next week, a judge said Monday.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are accused of having breached a state secrets act for research they were conducting into Rohingya Muslims.

They were arrested in December for allegedly illegally possessing official documents related to the crackdown in Rakhine state. Both have plead not guilty to violation of the Official Secrets Act.

Read more:  Rohingya in Bangladesh: How young citizen reporters experienced the mass exodus

District judge Khin Maung Maung told the court in Yangon that the judge in the case was sick. The ruling had been expected on Monday and is now postponed until September 3.

One of the journalists' lawyers, Khin Maung Zaw, said he felt "half optimistic and half pessimistic" about next week's verdict.

"I am quite certain from the legal point of view and from the testimony of the witnesses, that they are innocent," he told reporters outside the court, adding that he would appeal a negative decision to the district court.

The EU, US and media organizations have condemned the arrest of the journalists.

'Truth is on our side'

Following a brief hearing, Wa Lone told reporters that he and Kyaw Soe Oo "are not afraid or shaken." 

"The truth is on our side. Whatever the situation is, we will not be shaken. They cannot make us weak," he said.

Reuters released a statement expressing disappointment at their reporters not having received a decision on Monday.

"Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have already spent more than eight months in prison based on allegations of a crime they did not commit," the statement read.

Almost 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the Buddhist-majority country for neighboring Bangladesh in what UN officials and human rights groups have described as a state policy of "ethnic cleansing." An estimated 6,700 people have died in the conflict since August 2017.

cw,law/rt (AFP, Reuters)

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