Washington, May 22: The government applauded on Tuesday the release by Burma of journalists from the Reuters news agency Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, which revealed a massacre of the Burmese army against the Muslim minority Rohingya.
“We celebrate the release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were pardoned by the civilian government of Burma, imprisoned for more than 500 days since December 2017 for reporting on the atrocities against the Rohingya, we are delighted that They will meet with their families, “White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
The presidential office said it expected Burma to release other journalists who are currently imprisoned in that country.
“A free press, freedom of religion and the rule of law are fundamental principles for any democracy, and the United States will continue to promote a stable, prosperous and democratic transition in Burma,” Sanders added.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were released today after receiving a pardon from President Win Myint, after spending a year and a half in prison for revealing a massacre against the Rohingya minority.
Both reporters were sentenced to seven years in prison last September after being found guilty of violating the law of official secrets while conducting the investigation of the massacre, for which this month they received the Pulitzer Prize.
The president of Burma (or Myanmar), Win Myint, granted the pardon to the two journalists weeks after the Supreme Court rejected his last appeal and left the sentence as final.
Reuters confirmed the release of its two journalists from prison, who benefited from a presidential amnesty granted to 6,520 prisoners and announced Tuesday in a statement from the office of the Burmese President.
They were both arrested on December 12, 2017, moments after receiving from police officers confidential documents about a massacre of ten Rohingya Muslims in Rakáin state, in the west of the country, which they were investigating.
During the trial, an officer testified as a witness that the two reporters were ambushed by a senior police officer.
The massacre they investigated occurred during a Burmese Army campaign in northern Rakáin that led to more than 700,000 rohinyá fleeing to Bangladesh and in which the UN denounced “intentional genocide” and called it “manual cleansing”.
In December, the two Burmese reporters were designated by Time magazine as People of the Year together with the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, the Filipino reporter Maria Ressa and the Capital Gazette newspaper, where five workers were killed in a shootout last June. (EFEUSA )