Myanmar: Soldiers, villagers killed Rohingya in mass grave

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Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested December 12 after police accused them of violating the colonial-era law by acquiring "important secret papers" from two policemen.

Than Zaw Aung said he appealed for the two to be immediately released on bail, but the judge said he would review that request and rule at the next hearing on January 23. Family members have said the two told them they were arrested nearly immediately after being handed some documents by the officers they had gone to meet.

Myanmar police officers stand guard at the Yebawkya village of the Maungdaw township in Rakhine State, western Myanmar, on September 27 previous year, after the discovery of 10 bodies buried in a mass grave in a village in northern Rakhine state on September 2.

Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen J. Adler said he was "extremely disappointed" by the charges and again called for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo to be released immediately.

The two journalists stand accused of receiving documents illegally.

"The FCCT and FCCHK do not consider it to be a crime to be handed documents from sources - in this case from police officers who had invited the pair to a meeting", it said.

"The Myanmar government has to receive the Rohingya back by checking its immigration data and giving them their full rights", Kyaw Soe Aung said.

In the court, Kyaw Soe Oo embraced his wife and held his daughter for a couple of minutes.

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"Roughly said, the defendants say that they were framed into this. We hear of high levels of toxic fear in children from both Rohingya and Rakhine communities", she said. "We have reason to suspect that authorities have disposed of human remains, whether maliciously to hide evidence or for other reasons". We can't say much about that now. "We want to ask whether this law was issued just for Muslims or all people in Myanmar". I was hoping that there could be a chance to see him after hearing and brought the meals he likes.

Only about 60,000 people remain in the town where 440,000 were living before August, she said. State officials have confirmed the two are being investigated for breaching Myanmar's Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years in prison. "We view this as a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom".

"We reiterate our call for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's immediate and unconditional release".

"After the dinner, [the Reuters journalists] were arrested".

Dozens of journalists wearing black waited outside the court Wednesday to protest the arrest of their colleagues, who were led into the court smiling and giving the thumbs up sign despite heavy handcuffs on their wrists.

"We hope that these journalists will get a fair trial and a speedy trial that represents global practices", the first secretary of the European Union mission, Andreas Magnusson, told reporters.

"For democracy to succeed and flourish", the embassy said, "journalists must be able to do their jobs". "It is indeed very disappointing that an old draconian law from the colonial era is being used by a democratically elected government to suppress press freedom".

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