New York, April 20, 2018–A prosecution witness in the case against two imprisoned Reuters journalists in Myanmar today testified that a police chief ordered officers to trap one of the reporters by handing him “secret documents” during a meeting, according to Reuters and other news reports.
Police on December 12, 2017, arrested journalist Wa Lone and his colleague Kyaw Soe Oo, who accompanied Wa Lone to the meeting, immediately after the pair left a restaurant where officers handed them documents. Police Captain Moe Yan Naing told the court that the set-up was ordered by police Brigadier General Tin Ko Ko.
“The case against imprisoned journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo in Myanmar has become a farce, with a prosecution witness giving testimony that the two reporters were subject to a police sting operation in which police planted evidence,” said CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler. “Justice demands their immediate release. Their continued imprisonment is a ridiculous embarrassment to the Myanmar government.”
The journalists have been detained under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act; each face up to 14 years in prison if convicted.