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Myanmar Police Whistleblower Testifies His Jailing Was Warning


Detained Police Captain Moe Yan Naing is escorted by police after arriving for a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar, May 9, 2018.

An imprisoned Myanmar policeman provided more information in court Wednesday about how two Reuters journalists were allegedly framed by police, a case that has become a decisive test for press freedom in the Southeast Asian country.

Police Captain Moe Yan Naing, who was ordered to serve one year in jail for violating the Police Disciplinary Act, testified his sentence was intended to intimidate any other officers who are considering telling the truth.

The office provided a detailed account of how a police chief allegedly ordered subordinates to give "secret" documents to two reporters who are being tried on charges of possessing state secrets.

Wednesday's testimony by Moe Yan Naing comes after his initial testimony April 20, when he said his colleagues helped frame the reporters.

Moe Yan Naing's lawyer, Than Zaw Aung, told VOA Burmese that his legal team is encouraged by Wednesday's testimony.

FILE - Reuters journalists Wa Lone, center front, and Kyaw Soe Oo, center back, are escorted by police as they return to their trial after a lunch break at the court in Yangon, Myanmar, April 20, 2018.
FILE - Reuters journalists Wa Lone, center front, and Kyaw Soe Oo, center back, are escorted by police as they return to their trial after a lunch break at the court in Yangon, Myanmar, April 20, 2018.

His testimony increased hope that reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo will be acquitted of the charge, which is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

The reporters had been covering a military crackdown in Myanmar's Rakhine state that the United Nations says forced the evacuation of 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to neighboring Bangladesh during the past eight months.

The United Nations, the United States and Britain have denounced the crackdown as ethnic cleansing, a charge the Myanmar government denies.

When the reporters were arrested in December, they were looking into an investigation of the killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys that occurred during the crackdown.

The United Nations launched an appeal in March for $951 million to help the Rohingya refugees for the remainder of 2018, but the world body said at the end of April that it was only 9 percent funded.

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