European Union calls for release of reuters journalists charged in Myanmar

European Union calls for release of reuters journalists charged in Myanmar

If vigilantes and security forces premeditated these killings, they could face death sentences under current criminal laws, Lawyer Network spokesperson Thein Than Oo told VOA Burmese.

Background Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Myanmar, Yangon's main city on 12 December 2017.

"This is the first trial of the case".

Than Zaw Aung said he appealed for the two to be immediately released on bail, but the judge said he would review that request and rule at the next hearing on January 23.

The district judge said the decision on the petition for bail could be decided during the next trial.

"We never made any mistakes, they are trying to stop us and intimidate us", said 31-year-old Wa Lone, as eight police officers ushered him out of the court, his tearful wife still clutching his hand. Family members have said the two told them they were arrested nearly immediately after being handed some documents by the officers they had gone to meet.

"The charges filed against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo represent a giant step backward for press freedom in Myanmar", Shawn Crispin of the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement Wednesday.

Human rights groups have accused the police of entrapping the two Reuters journalists by giving them documents that were then deemed state secrets.

"The Myanmar government has to receive the Rohingya back by checking its immigration data and giving them their full rights", Kyaw Soe Aung said.

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"Roughly said, the defendants say that they were framed into this".

"We will not accept terrorism and fight against them until the end", the spokesman said, adding that no one should offer any support to the group. We can't say much about that now.

Ma Chit Su just arrived from Sittwe in Rakhine State, where Ko Kyaw Soe Oo's relatives live, along with their two-year-old daughter.

He tweeted "it may not be a coincidence" that this admission came on the same day as two Reuters journalists were formally charged by police in court with breaching a colonial-era secrecy law.

In a statement, Stephen Adler, president and editor-in-chief of Reuters, called the move to prosecute the reporters "a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom". Our colleagues should be allowed to return to their jobs reporting on events in Myanmar.

"We believe time is of the essence and we continue to call for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's prompt release".

Tweeting in support of the journalists, former United States president Bill Clinton said: "A free press is critical to a free society-the detention of journalists anywhere is unacceptable".

The journalists' families have suggested the pair were set up, saying the arrests took place immediately after leaving the restaurant where they dined with the two policemen.

"This is unacceptable", Wa Lone told journalists after the court hearing Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.

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