Geneva, April 12 (IANS) Two independent UN human rights experts on Thursday called on Myanmar to release two Reuters reporters who were arrested while investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims and to drop the charges against them.
Special rapporteurs on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, and on human rights in Myanmar Yanghee Lee, reacted in a statement to a Wednesday decision by a Myanmar court to reject the dismissal of the case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
"We urge the prosecution to drop the charges against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo and we urge the government to release both journalists immediately," the experts were cited as saying by Efe news.
The two reporters were detained in Yangon on December 12 soon after meeting two policemen who allegedly handed them some documents. They were accused of violating the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which can bring sentences of up to 14 years in prison.
The reporters were investigating a massacre of Rohingyas at Inn Din village in the western state of Rakhine.
On Tuesday, seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years in prison with hard labour in a remote area for participating in the killings.
"The perpetrators of a massacre that was, in part, the subject of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's reporting have been sentenced to 10 years imprisonment. And yet these two reporters face a possible 14 years imprisonment," the experts said.