Burma Officially Defends 2 Reuters Reporters

Two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar, on Wednesday (10/1), have been formally charged with violating the State Secrecy Act.

Prosecutors filed charges against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo on Wednesday (10/1) a short trial in Yangon. The two journalists were arrested on December 12 after they allegedly received secret documents from two policemen at a dinner event.

The lawyers of both journalists said the judge rejected the request to release his two clients on bail but promised to take a decision at the next hearing , which is scheduled to take place on January 23.

The two journalists briefly met with their families after the trial, before being returned to prison.

Outside the court, dozens of black-clad journalists marched to show their support for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Some of them carried banners reading "Journalism is not a crime."

The two men face the possibility of a maximum jail term of 14 years if proven to violate the State Secrecy Act. The law itself is centuries old or valid since Myanmar is still under British colonial rule. [ab/uh]

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