Reuters 'distressed' its Pulitzer-winning reporters remain in Myanmar jail
Reuters journalists Wa Lone (3-L) and Kyaw Soe Oo (2-R) gesture as they prepare to leave the Insein township court in a van, in Yangon, Myanmar, Sep. 3, 2018 (reissued Apr. 16, 2019). EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO
Reuters journalists Wa Lone (C-front) and Kyaw Soe Oo (C-back) gesture as they arrive at Insein township court, in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 27, 2018 (reissued 16 Apr. 16, 2019). EPA-EFE FILE/LYNN BO BO
A composite image shows Reuters journalists Wa Lone (L) and Kyaw Soe Oo (R) outside the Insein township court in Yangon, Myanmar, Sep. 3, 2018 (reissued Apr. 16, 2019). EPA-EFE/LYNN BO BO
Pangshang, Myanmar, Apr 16 (efe-epa).- Reuters news agency lamented Tuesday that two of its journalists who were part of a team awarded a Pulitzer Prize for its coverage of the Rohingya crisis are still locked up in Myanmar prison.
"I'm thrilled that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and their colleagues have been recognized for their extraordinary, courageous coverage," Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said in a statement.
"I remain deeply distressed, however, that our brave reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are still behind bars just for reporting the truth," he added.
The Reuters team shared the Pulitzer Prize in International Reporting for its coverage of the mass expulsion of the Rohingya from Myanmar along with the Associated Press for its coverage of the war in Yemen.
The Pulitzer Prizes, which are presented annually by New York's Columbia University in 14 journalism categories plus seven in drama, letters and music, were announced at a gala event in New York City on Monday night.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were investigating the massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims in Inn Din village in northern Rakhine state during a Myanmar Army crackdown after Rohingya rebels launched a series of attacks on security posts in the region.
Before they could finish their report, the pair was arrested on Dec. 12, 2017 in Yangon immediately after receiving documents from two police officers.
The article they were working on at the time of their arrest was completed by colleagues Simon Lewis and Antoni Slodkowski and published in February last year.
Despite international pressure in support of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, they were each sentenced to seven years in prison in Sept. 2018 for violating the Official Secrets Act, a law dating back to the British colonial period.
During the reporters' trial, one of the police officers involved in the arrest, Captain Moe Yan Naing, testified that the duo had been trapped in a set-up planned by a senior police official.
Seven Myanmar Army soldiers were later sentenced to 10 years in prison for the Inn Dinn massacre.
More than 723,000 members of the Rohingya community fled to Bangladesh during and following the Myanmar Army operation.
In a report released in September last year, a special mission of the United Nations said that the military campaign, which led to at least 10,000 deaths, according to Doctors Without Borders, showed elements of genocide and ethnic cleansing.