Two Reuters reporters formally charged under Official Secrets Act

Writer: 
Kyi Naing
 
The Yangon North District Court brought formal charges against two Reuters reporters under the Official Secrets Act, at their second court appearance on January 10.
 
Reporters Thet Oo Maung (aka Walone) and Kyaw Soe Oo (aka Moe Aung), were detained on December 12, 2017 at the Htauk-Kyant police station under The Official Secrets Act of 1923, a relic of the colonial era.
 
They are charged under Section 3(1)(c) of the Official Secrets Act with suspicion of possessing documents related to Rakhine State.
 
“I can provide more details about it only after getting copies of case files in my hand,” said Than Zaw Aung, a lawyer representing the two reporters,
 
He said the names of 25 witnesses have been submitted to the court, and he has submitted a bail application for the two reporters.
 
“Both sides will submit arguments about bail at the next court hearing,” said Than Zaw Aung,
 
“Police Captain Moe Yan Naing and Sergeant Khin Maung Lin involved in the case are included in the list of witnesses submitted by plaintiff Deputy Police Colonel Yu Naing,” Than Zaw Aung said.
 
Plaintiff Deputy Police Colonel Yu Naing failed to attend the court hearing.
 
The next court appearance is scheduled for January 23.
 
Thet Oo Maung (aka Walone), one of the journalists, said: “We are arrested and charged with using illegal activities. As journalists, our job is to uncover the truth. We will fight the charges filed against us.”
 
Officials from some embassies and family members of the two reporters attended the court trail.
 
Journalists wore black T-shirts as a “black” campaign against the arrest of the two reporters.
 
Stern action will be taken against the police officer and the sergeant under the Official Secrets Act 1923 and the Police Rules, according to an Information Ministry statement on December 13.
 
On December 13, 12 media organizations called for the immediate release of two Reuters reporters.