Myanmar’s Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the final appeal of two Reuters journalists and upheld the seven-year prison sentences for their reporting on the military’s brutal crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.
Earlier this month, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo shared with their colleagues the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting. The reporters were arrested in December 2017 and sentenced last September after being accused of illegally possessing official documents, a violation of a colonial-era law.
The court did not given a reason for its decision. Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who are being held in a prison in Yangon, were not present for the ruling, but their wives were. Kyaw Soe Oo’s wife, Chit Su, broke down in tears when the ruling was read.
“Both he and I hoped for the best,” Chit Su said. “I am terribly sad for this decision.”
Khin Maung Zaw, a lawyer for the two, said the pair could still seek their freedom by petitioning the president’s office or the legislature.
President Win Myint could reduce the sentence, order a retrial or have them released. Legislative action for a retrial would be a lengthier, more complicated process.