Myanmar Sentences Reuters Journalists to 7 Years in Prison

BANGKOK — The two reporters met the police corporal at his insistence, joining him at a restaurant in Yangon. Confused when the conversation did not live up to the policeman’s initial urgency, the two got up to leave after the meal ended, only to have him hand off two rolled-up pieces of paper with no explanation.

The journalists, U Wa Lone and U Kyaw Soe Oo, reporters for Reuters, barely made it out of the restaurant before they were arrested, the papers confiscated before they had any chance to look at them, they testified.

But on Monday, those papers — despite testimony in April by another police official that higher-ups had ordered them to be planted on the reporters — were at the heart of a judge’s rationale in convicting and sentencing the two journalists to 7 years in prison for violating Myanmar’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act.