(Reuters) - Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been detained in Myanmar since Dec. 12, 2017. At the time of their arrests, they had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a village in Rakhine state.
After six months of pre-trial hearings, a Yangon court charged the reporters with breaching the colonial-era Official Secrets Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.
The following are key events in the case:
Dec. 12-13, 2017
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are arrested in Yangon after being invited to meet police over dinner.
The government says they face charges under the Official Secrets Act.
Dec. 18, 2017
Myanmar’s military says it has discovered a mass grave in the village of Inn Din, in western Rakhine state.
Dec. 27, 2017
The reporters appear in court and are remanded in custody. Their families say the pair told them they were arrested almost immediately after being handed documents by the policemen they met for the first time the night of their arrest.
Jan. 10, 2018
Pre-trial hearings begin, with prosecutors seeking charges against the journalists under the Official Secrets Act.
On the same day, the military says its soldiers murdered 10 captured Muslims, whose bodies were those discovered by security forces in the mass grave in Rakhine, during insurgent attacks.
Feb. 1, 2018
A police witness, Major Min Thant, says under cross-examination that information in the documents the reporters were holding in their hands at the time of their arrest had already been published in newspaper reports.
The court denies a request for bail.
Feb. 8, 2018
Reuters publishes the investigation that the reporters had been working on. It describes how security forces and local Rakhine Buddhists were involved in the killing of the 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys buried in the mass grave at Inn Din.
Feb. 11, 2018
Myanmar says action will be taken against members of its security forces in connection with the killings at Inn Din, but says it is not related to the Reuters report.
Feb. 13, 2018
The United States urges the U.N. to hold Myanmar’s military accountable for “ethnic cleansing” and reiterates demands for the reporters’ release.
March 28, 2018
Lawyers for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo ask the court to throw out the case, saying there is insufficient evidence to support charges against the pair.
March 29, 2018
Prominent human rights lawyer Amal Clooney joins the legal team representing the two Reuters reporters. “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news,” Clooney said in a statement.
April 20, 2018
Prosecution witness Police Captain Moe Yan Naing tells the court that a police brigadier general had given orders to entrap Wa Lone by giving him “secret documents” and then arresting him. Prosecutors later argued that Moe Yan Naing should be declared an unreliable witness, but the judge rejected the request.
April 29, 2018
Moe Yan Naing is sentenced to a year in prison for violating Myanmar’s Police Disciplinary Act by talking to Wa Lone.
May 16, 2018
Police Lance Corporal Naing Lin, the officer Moe Yan Naing said was ordered to entrap Wa Lone, tells the court he met the reporters, but denies giving them documents.
June 11, 2018
A senior police officer denies during cross-examination by defense lawyers that the reporters were subjected to sleep deprivation and asked if they were “spies” during interrogations. Afterwards, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo confirm details of their treatment, saying they were questioned every two hours by different officers for about three days.
July 2, 2018
Prosecutors and defense lawyers deliver final arguments in the pre-trial phase of the case.
July 9, 2018
The Yangon court charges Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo with breaching the Official Secrets Act. Both reporters plead not guilty.
The proceedings enter the trial phase, with the next hearing to be held on July 16.
The court’s decision draws international criticism, with many countries, the United Nations, and press freedom groups calling for the reporters’ release.
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