A court in Myanmar has heard an appeal on Monday (December 24) in the case of two Reuters reporters jailed for seven years on charges of breaking the country's Official Secrets Act.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were found guilty in September on a landmark case... that's raised questions about Myanmar's progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights activists.
Defence lawyers filed an appeal against the conviction in November citing evidence of a police-set up and lack of proof of a crime.
Reuters' Editor-in-Chief Steven J.
Adler released a statement before the appeal hearing began.
"We are looking forward to demonstrating to Myanmar's High Court why it should reverse the convictions of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo due to the egregious errors committed by the trial court in condemning them to prison for seven years.
These two journalists did not in any way harm Myanmar... We will explain to the appellate judge why, under the law, the only possible conclusion is that the appellate court must restore our reporters' freedom and reaffirm Myanmar's democratic principles." Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi said in September the jailing of the two reporters had nothing to do with freedom of expression.
And after their conviction ... she said they had been sentenced for handling official secrets and quote "were not jailed because they were journalists".
Before their arrest, the pair had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men & boys in a Rakhine state village.
The army crackdown that began in August last year sent more than 700,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.