In a heartbreaking display of courage, Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo, laughed and smiled as he hugged his 2-year-old daughter.
The 27-year-old father put up a brave front so as not to worry his child, despite the fact he may face up to 14 years in prison.
Kyaw Soe Oo, along with fellow journalist, Wa Lone, 31, was arrested by Myanmar police in December, for allegedly possessing top-secret documents that could be “useful to an enemy,” according to Myanmar police.
The two reporters were investigating the killings of 10 Rohingya men, whose bodies were found in a mass grave after Buddhist neighbors and Myanmar police allegedly hacked and shot them to death.
The pair was reportedly invited to dinner with police officers in Saung Yeik Mon restaurant in northern Yangon. They were handed some papers by the tow officers and then, without warning, immediately arrested.
However, the prosecution claims the journalists were stopped and searched at a junction several meters away from the restaurant, by officers who did not know they were reporters. They made no reference the two met with police officers prior to their detention.
At previous hearings, the court was told that one of the police officers had burned his notes from the time of the arrest. Another cop said he was not familiar with police procedures related to recording arrests.
Major Min Thant, another police witness, admitted the information found in the documents the two journalists were holding in their hands at the time of their detention, had already been published in newspapers.
The entire arrest process is fraught with irregularities. It also hurt freedom of press in Myanmar.
The country’s U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan said Myanmar acknowledges free speech and journalists were not arrested for reporting stories. The two reporters were instead accused of “illegally possessing confidential government documents.”
Myanmar’s U.N. Ambassador Hau Do Suan said the country recognizes freedom of the press and the journalists were not arrested for reporting a story, but were accused of “illegally possessing confidential government documents”.
However, the United Nations has condemned Myanmar for blaming the media for the atrocities in Rakhine and has demanded the journalists be freed.
However, the words have fallen on deaf ears.
Meanwhile, if convicted under Official Secrets Act, both the reporters will face 14 years in prison.
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