Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday
They were arrested for their exposure of various massacres on Rohingya civilians.
It is finally Uhuru for two Reuters journalists who have been in Myanmar prison for 500 days.
The two reporters, Wa Lone, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 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.
Upon their release, the journalists spoke on what it means to finally be free
Speaking after their release, Journalist Wa Lone said: “We’re really happy and excited to see our families and colleagues. I don’t know what to say, we’re very excited.”
Also, journalist Kyaw Soe oo said: “I really want to meet my family and I am supposed to go to the cinema with my family tonight.”
The freedom of these journalists was brokered by Lord Ara Darzi, who insists a lot had to be taken into consideration before they were granted amnesty.
British Surgeon who helped broker the release of two journalists, Lord Ara Darzi said: “It took time. It took time because there is a strong belief in this country on the judiciary, and seeing the whole pathway of the law taking its course. And I was absolutely delighted this is an amazing day, the day that we should all celebrate and also reflect on where this country’s going.
Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler described the journalists as “courageous reporters” and “symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world.”
“We are enormously pleased that Myanmar has released our courageous reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Since their arrest five hundred and eleven days ago they have become symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world. We welcome their return.”
Their freedom comes after President Win Myint pardoned thousands of prisoners in mass amnesties which began last month.
It is customary in Myanmar for authorities to free prisoners across the country around the time of the traditional New Year, which begins on the 17th of April.