After 2 weeks, arrested Reuters journalists meet kin for first time but detained another 14 days

December 27, 2017 - 3:35 PM
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Reuters journalist Wa Lone hugs his wife Pan Ei Mon at a court in Yangon, Myanmar. (Reuters)
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YANGON — Two Reuters journalists who have been detained in Myanmar for the past two weeks were remanded in custody for a further two weeks on Wednesday as a probe into allegations they breached the nation’s Official Secrets Act continues, according to their lawyer.

When they appeared in court for the proceedings, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, were allowed to meet their families and their lawyer for the first time since their arrest on the night of December 12.

Dozens of reporters and cameramen were outside the courthouse in a northern district of Yangon for the appearance of the two journalists. They were brought in a white van, rather than a police truck, dressed in casual clothes and were not handcuffed.

Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo looks out from a police vehicle as he leaves a court in Yangon, Myanmar. (Reuters)

Their lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, who has been retained by Reuters, said the two had only been doing their job as journalists.

“They are being accused under this charge while doing their work as media,” he told reporters.

Only their families and lawyer were allowed into the courtroom along with police and government lawyers.

The two journalists had worked on Reuters coverage of a crisis in the western state of Rakhine, where an estimated 655,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled from a fierce military crackdown on militants.

The two journalists are being investigated under a section of the Official Secrets Act which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years.

Myanmar journalists protest the arrest and detention of their Reuters colleagues Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, in Yangon. (Reuters)