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Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar freed after more than 500 days

Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar freed after more than 500 days

YANGON: Convicted of breaking Myanmar`s Official Secrets Act, Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had spent more than 500 days in jail when they were freed on Tuesday.

They had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar`s progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates.

President Win Myint has pardoned thousands of prisoners in amnesties since last month. It is customary in Myanmar for authorities to free prisoners across the country around the time of the traditional New Year, which began on April 17.

During months of preliminary hearings and a trial last year, defence lawyers had argued the reporters were jailed in a “pre-planned and staged” attempt to silence their reporting.

One prosecution witness, a police officer, testified that police planted documents on the reporters in order to frame them. Another officer told the court, without explanation, that he had burned notes made at the time of the journalists` arrests.

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