Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has joined the legal group of two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar, who have given both advice and international attention to a case that has been widely denounced as an attack on the free press. Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, have now spent more than 100 days behind bars in a notorious prison that stands for repression during the military junta era in Myanmar. The couple are being tried for allegedly possessing secret government documents.
They investigated the murders of 10 Muslim Rohingya men found in a mass grave after military violence that the US has called ethnic cleansing. If convicted, the two journalists face up to 1
"Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being persecuted just for reporting the news," Clooney said in a statement from her office, Doughty Street Chambers. "I have checked the file and there is no doubt that the two journalists are innocent and should be released immediately, and the outcome of this case will tell a lot about Myanmar's commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech."
Arrested in Yangon on December 12th, almost immediately after police handing them documents for dinner, according to defense lawyers.
Proponents have called the case "farce" and believe that the couple may have been trapped.
Read More : Journalists Fear the End of Press Freedom in Myanmar
Inconsistencies have confused the trials, police said they were unable to answer questions about arrest, because they burned their notes. The defense team has requested that the case be dismissed for lack of evidence.
The Yangon Court will hear arguments on the application for release on April 4.
Clooney, who worked before joining the London Bar Association in The Hague, had previously seized several international cases, including representing Yazidi victims of the genocide, and defended Azerbaijani revelatory journalist Khadija Ismayilova against politically motivated prosecution.