Two Reuters journalists have been freed in Myanmar after spending over 500 days in jail after being convicted of breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were charged on September 3 2018 and sentenced to seven years in prison.
The journalists were released under a presidential amnesty for 6,520 prisoners. Mass amnesties take place annually around the new year in Myanmar.
“I’m really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. I can’t wait to go to my newsroom,” Lone told reporters.
Their conviction was seen as an attack on press freedom and raised questions about Myanmar’s democracy.
The journalists had been collecting evidence about the murders of ten Rohingya men by the army in the village of Inn Din in northern Rakhine in September 2017. They were arrested before the report’s publication.
On 16 April 2019, both reporters were awarded the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for exposing the military units and Buddhist villagers responsible for the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar.
Zaw Htay, a government spokesman said that the decision to release the journalists was made after their wives wrote to Aung San Suu Kyi. The reporters’ wives wrote a letter after Myanmar’s Supreme Court rejected the reporters’ final appeal in April.
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