Reuters reporters face 14 years for 'receiving Rohingya secrets'

Cheryl Sanders
January 14, 2018

The statement is the army's public acknowledgement of wrongdoing since it launched "clearance operations" against ethnic Rohingya in August, prompting more than 650,000 to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh in what the United Nations (UN) has called "ethnic cleansing".

"The court rejected the petition and has upheld the administrative order, which bans marriage between Bangladeshi citizens and Rohingya people", deputy attorney general Motaher Hossain Saju said. The area is in northern Rakhine State, where a military campaign against Rohingya Muslims has raged for more than three months.

He was one of several Rohingya leaders from across the USA who participated in a panel discussion in Washington D.C. on the situation in northern Rakhine state and were part of a delegation that met on Capitol Hill.

Phil Robertson of the group Human Rights Watch said that "if Aung San Suu Kyi and her government really cared about democratic reforms and governance, they could use their parliamentary majority to quickly reform this antiquated colonial law and bring it into compliance with worldwide human rights standards. And by targeting a high-profile news organization like Reuters, it shows no journalist is safe to report on sensitive stories in Myanmar". "So it was decided that the Rohingya would be executed at the village graveyard", the statement reads.

The U.S. and the United Nations have accused Myanmar forces of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya, and Wednesday's admission will likely trigger greater global pressure on the Southeast Asian country. "Emphasis must be placed on wish of local Rakhine ethnic people who are real Myanmar citizens".

"The charges filed against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo represent a giant step backward for press freedom in Myanmar", Shawn Crispin of the Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement Wednesday.

"We would like to ask the Myanmar government to determine citizenship according to these documents", he said.

Rohingya were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, denying them nearly all rights and rendering them stateless. "We will try to get justice in accordance with the law". "If it is only for Muslims, then it is discrimination".

The refugees complain that they have not been consulted on the plan.

"If this is done, the problems in Rakhine state will disappear", he said.

A Myanmar government spokesman said the insurgents were trying to delay the repatriation of refugees from Bangladesh under a plan the two governments have been working on. They are widely called "Bengalis" and are accused of migrating illegally from Bangladesh. They sat down, and some documents were handed over.

Myanmar officials, however, say they have documents to verify the residency of Rohingya who want to return but no longer possess official papers. "But if you look at the witness list, they are included in it", said U Than Zaw Aung.

Serious communal violence between Rohingya and ethnic Rakhine Buddhists erupted in 2012 and sporadic unrest followed. "But now, I couldn't even see him", she said.

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