EU calls for Myanmar presidential action as Reuters journalists lose appeal
Pan Ei Mon (R) and Chit Su Win (L), wives of jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, leave a court in Yangon, Myanmar, Jan.11, 2019. EPA-EFE/NYEIN CHAN NAING
AA composite image shows Reuters journalists Wa Lone (L) and Kyaw Soe Oo (R) outside the Insein township court in Yangon, Sep.3, 2018 (reissued Jan.11, 2019). EPA-EFE/FILE/LYNN BO BO
Pan Ei Mon (C) wife of jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone, leaves a court in Yangon, Myanmar, Jan.11, 2019. EPA-EFE/NYEIN CHAN NAING
Brussels, Jan 11 (efe-epa).- The European Union Friday called on Myanmar president to intervene after a court rejected an appeal from two jailed Reuters journalists who had challenged their seven-year prison sentence.
The bloc termed the ruling against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo as a setback to media freedom and urged President Win Myint to address the "injustice" against them.
"Today's court decision to confirm the conviction of the Reuters reporters to seven years' imprisonment is a missed opportunity to right a wrong," a spokesperson for the European External Action Service said in a statement.
"It is another setback to media freedom, the public's right to information and the rule of law in Myanmar," the spokesperson said.
The EU official said Friday's decision that upheld the sentence awarded in September 2017 was "based on laws that run contrary to international human rights standards."
The spokesperson said the bloc had raised the issue with the Myanmar government, expressing confidence that the President "will promptly address this injustice" to ensure that the press fulfilled its function as "an essential pillar of democracy".
Officials of EEAS participated in Friday's trial as international observers together with representatives of the EU member states.
Myanmar's de facto head and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has faced major criticism for her weak stance on human rights crises in the country.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in December 2017 for possessing confidential documents which, according to them, had been handed over by two police officers.
The reporters, who claim to be victims of a trap set up by the officers, were working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a Rakhine village.