By OLIVER SLOW | FRONTIER
YANGON — World-renowned human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney will serve as counsel to Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo, the two Reuters journalists currently on trial in Myanmar.
Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, has been instructed jointly by Reuters and the two defendants in the case, according to a press release by her London-based firm.
“Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news,” said Clooney in the release. “I have reviewed the case file and it is clear beyond doubt that the two journalists are innocent and should be released immediately. The outcome of this case will tell us a lot about Myanmar’s commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech.”
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested while investigated the killing of 10 Rohingya men at Inn Din village, Maungdaw Township, northern Rakhine State, in late August. They are accused of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which carries with it a maximum of 14 years in jail.
“We will pursue all avenues to secure our reporters’ release,” said Ms Gail Gove, chief counsel of Reuters. “Retaining Ms Clooney greatly strengthens out international legal expertise and allows us to broaden those efforts.”
Clooney is a specialist in international criminal law and human rights and has worked on a number of high profile cases, including acting as a senior advisor to Mr Kofi Annan when he was the UN’s envoy to Syria, as well as representing a group of Iraqis seeking accountability for genocide and other atrocities perpetrated by ISIS against the Yazidi community.