Pan Ei Mon, wife of a Reuters journalist Wa Lone, talks to media during a press briefing at a hotel in Yangon, Myanmar, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018. A Myanmar court sentenced two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison Monday on charges of illegal possession of official documents, a ruling met with international condemnation that will add to outrage over the military’s human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

Pence calls on Myanmar to free 2 Reuters reporters

September 04, 2018 - 11:36 pm

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is calling on Myanmar to immediately release two journalists who were sentenced to seven years' imprisonment on charges of possessing state secrets in connection with their reporting on massacres against Rohingya Muslims.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from the Reuters news agency were sentenced Monday in proceedings that were widely decried as unfair. They had reported about the army's brutal counterinsurgency campaign that drove 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. The subject is sensitive in Myanmar because of worldwide condemnation of the military's human rights abuses, which it denies.

Pence tweeted the two should be "commended_not imprisoned_for their work exposing human rights violations & mass killings."

He says: "Freedom of religion & freedom of the press are essential to a strong democracy."

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