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Myanmar Judge Refuses to Throw Out Testimony That Reporters Were Framed


Reuters journalist Wa Lone, center, gives a thumbs up sign as he is escorted by police upon arrival at the court for trial in Yangon, Myanmar Friday, April 20, 2018.

A judge in Myanmar has rejected a request to throw out the testimony of a witness who said two Reuters reporters on trial for allegedly possessing state secrets were framed by police.

Police Captain Moe Yan Naing had contradicted other prosecution witnesses by saying last month that his his superior had arranged for two policemen to meet the reporters, Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27 , at a restaurant and hand over documents described as “important secret papers” in order to entrap them.

Speaking to VOA's Burmese service, Defense lawyer U Khim Maung Zaw said he hopes the police captain's testimony will help clear Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

Prosecutors had sought to have the police captain to be declared an unreliable witness.

Wa Lone told VOA Burmese that he and his Reuters colleague are happy about the judge’s decision Wednesday because they believe truth will be revealed soon.

The Reuters reporters were arrested on December 12 after they were handed a stack of documents by two policemen at a restaurant in Yangon. The pair were covering the brutal military campaign in Rakhine state that has driven nearly hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims across the border into Bangladesh since last August.

The two journalists face 14 years in prison if they are convicted under the Official Secrets Act , which dates back to 1923 when Myanmar ruled by Britain.