UN experts condemn sentencing of Reuters journalists
GENEVA (3 September 2018) – UN experts strongly condemned today’s sentencing of two Reuters journalists to seven years imprisonment.
Journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were sentenced to seven years imprisonment on 3 September by a court in Yangon for breaching a law on state secrets, following their reporting on Rakhine State.
“The sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo is a dark moment for Myanmar,” said David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
“This is yet another clear signal of Myanmar’s distancing from international human rights law. We regret that the court failed to recognise the importance of independent journalism, freedom of expression and the public’s right to know.
“We urge the President to pardon the journalists, and if the case is appealed, for the court to take into account Myanmar’s human rights obligations and order their release,” the experts said.
*The UN experts: Ms. Yanghee Lee, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmarand Mr. David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression.
The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity.
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