Statement on the sentencing of journalists Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo of Reuters News Agency Statement No. (9/2018)

  1. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, upon receiving complaints from the families of the two journalists Ko Thet Oo Mg (a) Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo (a) Ko Moe Aung of Reuters News Agency based in Yangon that since their arrest on 12 December 2017 they lacked information to whereabouts of the two of them, also access to lawyer for their defence, issued Statement No. (14/2017) on 21 December 2017 urging the authorities concerned to provide basic human rights entitlements to the detainees such as abstention from torture during detention, to provide medical care and access to lawyer and permission for family visits.
  2. The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission consistently followed the case during the trial of the two journalists in Yangon Northern District Court and officials from the Commission were also sent to observe the proceedings of the case. It was found that during the court proceedings, both Ko Thet Oo Mg (a) Ko Wa Lone and Ko Kyaw Soe Oo (a) Ko Moe Aung enjoyed family visits, access to lawyer and the right to defence.
  3. It is now learnt that the two of them have been sentenced to seven years imprisonment by Yangon Northern District Court. According to the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission Law, the Commission has no particular comment on the sentencing of the two journalists. However, there have been serious criticisms and comments both domestically and internationally.
  4. The Commission would therefore like to urge the Government to seriously consider all aspects in the larger interest of the country, at the same time to provide basic human rights to the two journalists including the right to appeal and to consult their lawyers.

Myanmar National Human Rights Commission

4 September 2018