The wives of two Myanmar reporters for the Reuters news agency sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for possessing state secrets said yesterday they were shocked by the court’s decision.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo 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 members of the Muslim Rohingya minority to flee to Bangladesh.
The subject is sensitive in Myanmar because of worldwide condemnation of the military’s human rights abuses, which it denies.
Wa Lone’s wife, Pan Ei Mon, said at a news conference that she never expected such a harsh punishment “because everyone knows that they didn’t do anything wrong.” The two men testified that they had been framed by the police.
Pan Ei Mon gave birth to the couple’s first child in Yangon on Aug. 10, but her husband has not seen their daughter.
“After I gave birth, I continued to keep strong with the hope that my daughter and her father will meet soon. But I felt like my hope was broken after the verdict yesterday. I am hopeless now,” she said.
Kyaw Soe Oo’s wife, Chit Su, also said she had expected her husband would be coming home. They have a 3-year-old daughter.
“I believed he would be free, he felt the same,” she said. “But it didn’t happen, I felt like I am a crazy person.”
She said she still hopes for mercy from the state. At the same time, she remains proud that her husband did his duty as a journalist.
The lawyers for the journalists said at the news conference that they would do whatever they could to get their clients freed.