Amal Clooney ‘s statement April 20th, 2018
Detained Reuters Journalists in Myanmar Should be Released
Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have now been in prison in Yangon for over four months. Their arrest and prosecution are part of a crackdown on freedom of the press in Myanmar intended to silence reporting on the crimes committed against Rohingyas. The journalists are young Buddhists who have done nothing to harm the state. Yet they face a sham trial for possessing “official secrets” and may be sentenced to up to 14 years in prison.
Today in court one of the prosecution’s own witnesses admitted that the arrest was a “trap” in stunning testimony that drew gasps from those in the courtroom. The witness, a police captain, gave evidence that brigadier Tin Ko Ko ordered police to arrange a meeting with Wa Lone to hand over “secret documents” that would set up an arrest moments later. According to the witness, the brigadier gave the documents to a junior police officer, instructed him to give them to Wa Lone in a restaurant and told him that when Wa Lone came out the “regional police force has to entrap him and arrest him”. The brigadier also “told the police members, ‘if you don’t get Wa Lone, you will go to jail’”.
It is now clear to any impartial observer that this case is a bungled attempt to entrap two innocent young men. The US, UK, Canada, the UN and the European Union have already demanded the journalists’ release, and further action may follow if the case is not resolved.
Silencing critics through false arrests and arbitrary detention flies in the face of Myanmar’s professed dedication to the rule of law and free speech, and risks lasting damage to the country’s reputation and economy. But the truthful testimony of a brave witness is a step in the right direction. The prosecution should now drop the case immediately or, failing that, the district court judge should dismiss it. If this does not happen, it will be the responsibility of the government to grant an amnesty.
Counsel for Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo and Reuters source
Amal Clooney wore a top and skirt by CHANEL from they Fall collection 1998
These ones are available here
With big thanks to Debora Grossi for the help