Reuters is reporting that two of its journalists jailed in Myanmar have been pardoned after more than 500 days behind bars of a seven-year sentence.
The reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were released as part of a general presidential amnesty.
At the time of their arrest and then conviction for breaking the Official Secrets Act--Reuters said they had done nothing wrong--the pair were working on a story about the killing of Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians.
"May their release herald a new era of press freedom in Myanmar, where reporters no longer fear reprisal merely for doing their jobs," said Committee to Protect Journalists Southeast Asia Representative Shawn Crispin.
Sen. Marco Rubio (D-Fla.), among those who had advocated for their release, was understandably pleased.
“On the heels of World Press Freedom Day [May 3], I am very happy to see Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo finally walk free out of a Burmese prison," he said. "Both journalists were unjustly jailed for their work reporting the truth about the atrocities against the Rohingya in Burma. Their cases serve as a reminder of the critical role a free press plays in bringing accountability and transparency to governments, and we must do all we can to protect and advance those principles.”
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