Decision on Reuters trial due on April 11

YANGON – The judge overseeing the hearing of the detained Reuters journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo said that a decision will be made as to whether the case will go to trial on April 11.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December and appeared in a Yangon court again on Wednesday morning for another pre-trial hearing.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, the pair continued to protest their innocence, saying they were doing their jobs as journalists when they were arrested.

“We are being bullied for what we did as journalists,” said Wa Lone. “We never tried to betray our country.”

The pair were arrested at a Yangon restaurant in December. At the time, they were researching a story about the August killing of 10 Rohingya men at Inn Din village, in northern Rakhine State. The article, published by Reuters in February, alleges that security personnel and local villagers were involved in the killing of the men.

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“We did nothing wrong, and we believe we will be free,” said Kyaw Soe Oo.

Kyaw Soe Oo also said that he was suffering with health issues inside prison.

Outside the court on Wednesday, Kyaw Soe Oo’s sister Ma Nyo Nyo Aye tried to administer treatment to her brother, but was denied by officers.

“We don’t know what will happen,” Ny Nyo Aye told Frontier outside the court, expressing fear about her brother’s condition.

Last week, it was announced that world-renowned human rights lawyer Ms Amal Clooney will act as counsel for the pair.

In a Twitter post ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, the Embassy of Denmark in Yangon said that the prosecution has so far presented no solid evidence or proof of the charges against the pair.

“What the testimony heard so far has revealed, however, is a poorly prepared case, inconsistent statements by police witnesses, and what appears to be a blatant disregard of proper police procedures,” the post said.

 

 

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