Wife of convicted Reuters reporter Wa Lone distressed by State Counsellor's remark

Kyi Naing

The wife of one of the two Reuters reporters, who were recently sentenced to seven years in prison for violating the state secrets act, has expressed her sorrow at the remark of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi that the two reporters breached the state official secrets.

Pan Ei Mon, wife of Wa Lone, was spoke at a press conference held in Yangon on September 4 after Yangon North District Court sentenced Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo on September 3.

"I feel so sorry to hear that they had breached the state secret. It's because one of our country leaders does not know well about them. Wa Lone and our family have held her in high regard. It is very regrettable that the one we have respected has misunderstood us," said Pan Ei Mon.

In an NHK interview in June this year, the State Counsellor said: "They weren't arrest for covering the Rakhine issue. They were arrested because they broke the Official Secret Act. And I think you are aware of the fact that everybody had free access to the court proceedings. Now, all of this is in accordance with due process."

During the press conference, Khin Maung Zaw, lawyer for the two convicted reporters, said they were planning to apply for appeal in accord with the court procedures within 60 days.

The wives of the two reporters said they would also submit a letter of request to the President, adding that they didn't expect a seven-year prison sentence.

"I can't feel anymore that they received a seven-year sentence. I believed that we would go home together. He also had hopes of returning home. But it didn't happen. I almost went mad. He is innocent. They were just doing their jobs," said Chit Su Wai, wife of Kyaw Soe Oo.

Pan Ei Mon also said: "I went to meet Wa Lone yesterday. I didn't expect such a heavy sentence. All know that both of them didn't make any mistake. They themselves know that. The authorities who arrested them will know as well. When I met Wa Lone he said they were framed. Throughout my pregnancy, I had been encouraging myself that he would be released soon. At last, I have delivered his baby and nothing happened.

Wa Lone have a month-old daughter while Kyaw Soe Oo has a three-year-old daughter.