Yangon: Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have spent 13 months in jail since being arrested as they investigated atrocities against Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar’s army.
Their conviction for breaching the Official Secrets Act has been condemned around the world as an assault on media freedom and shattered the image of Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi‘s as a rights defender.
Their appeal was dismissed on Friday.
Here is a timeline of key events in the case.
December 12, 2017
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo meet police for dinner at a Yangon restaurant and are handed a roll of documents.
They are arrested straight afterwards and held under the Official Secrets Act for possessing documents regarding a military crackdown in Rakhine state against Rohingya Muslims.
Their whereabouts are unknown for two weeks and they later tell the court they were hooded, deprived of sleep and interrogated.
December 19, 2017
Myanmar’s military says it found 10 bodies in a grave at Inn Din in northern Rakhine state, epicentre of the crackdown against stateless Rohingya. Reuters had been investigating in the area.
January 10, 2018
Myanmar’s army says security forces killed 10 Rohingya men at Inn Din, admitting for the first time extra-judicial killings by its forces against the Rohingya during the 2017 crackdown.
Seven soldiers are later charged and convicted for the massacre. But the Reuters pair remain in custody.
February 8, 2018
Reuters publishes its report into the Inn Din massacre and says the journalists were arrested for probing it.
March 29, 2018
British-Lebanese rights lawyer Amal Clooney joins legal team representing the Reuters pair.
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April 20, 2018
Myanmar policeman Moe Yan Naing claims a superior ordered a sting to “get” Wa Lone by handing him papers.
Prosecution tries to declare him a hostile witness but the judge later says his testimony can stand.
August 10, 2018
Wa Lone’s wife Pan Ei Mon gives birth to the couple’s first child, with the father behind bars in Yangon’s notorious Insein prison.
September 3, 2018
Myanmar court sentences both journalists to seven years jail each for violating the state secrets act.
Sentence prompts global outrage and calls for release from US, UK and UN as Reuters denounces the “false charges”.
September 13, 2018
Suu Kyi pilloried after breaking her long silence on the case only to defend the court decision.
“They were not jailed because they were journalists” but because “the court has decided that they had broken the Official Secrets Act”, she says.
December 12, 2018
One year anniversary of the jailing of the pair is marked by newsrooms across the world with reporters posing for photos flashing the “thumbs up” — Wa Lone’s signature greeting to media at the court.
January 11, 2019
Yangon High Court judge dismisses an appeal. The pair can now take the case to Supreme Court for consideration or hope for a presidential pardon.
[source_without_link] Agence France-Presse[/source_without_link]