SINGAPORE (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called for the immediate release of two Reuters reporters detained in Myanmar when he met Myanmar’s Foreign Minister Kyaw Tin on Saturday on the sidelines of a regional conference in Singapore, the State Department said.
“Secretary Pompeo raised the issue of two detained Reuters reporters with the Burmese foreign minister,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. “He said that they should be immediately released and expressed our concern about their ongoing detention.”
Kyaw Soe Oo and his Reuters colleague, Wa Lone, 32, are facing up to 14 years in prison in Myanmar for allegedly
violating the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. Both have pleaded not guilty to the charges and have told the court how they were “trapped” by police officials who planted documents on them.
At the time of their arrest in December, the journalists had been investigating the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys in a village in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The killings took place during an army crackdown that United Nations agencies say sent nearly 700,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Nick Macfie)