Burmese authorities released award-winning Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo today after months of global outrage and pressure. The pair had been behind bars for nearly a year and a half. They reported on the systematic expulsion and murder of Rohingya Muslims from Burma in 2017 and uncovered a massacre committed by the Burmese military against a group of Rohingya in the village of Inn Din.
The two men were sentenced to seven years in prison last September for allegedly violating Burma’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. Just last month, Burma’s Supreme Court rejected the pair’s final appeal. They were awarded the Pulitzer Prize in April and were honored in last year’s Time magazine Person of the Year feature. This is Wa Lone speaking shortly after he was freed from prison.
Wa Lone: “I am very happy, and thank you so much for everyone who helped us while we were in prison and who wished for our release. I want to say thank you very much. … Inside, in the prison and also around the world, people who were wishing to release us, so I would like to say thank you very much for everything. I’m really happy and excited to get to see my family and my colleagues, and I can’t wait to go to my newsroom now.”