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Myanmar court refuses to drop case against Reuters journalists

AFP  |  Yangon 

A court today rejected a motion to drop a case against two journalists arrested months ago while reporting on the Rohingya crisis, pushing ahead with hearings that have sparked global outrage and fears of shrinking press freedoms.

"The court decided that the proposal from the defendants' to release the defendants...has been rejected," told a courtroom in the commercial capital packed with supporters, family and media.

reporters Wa Lone, 32 and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27 were arrested in December and accused of violating the country's for possessing material relating to security operations in conflict-hit Rakhine state.

has faced global condemnation and accusations of extrajudicial killings, ethnic cleansing and genocide as some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine to following a military crackdown on insurgents.

The government rejects the allegations and says it was defending itself against attacks from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, which occurred on August 25.

The pair had been investigating a massacre of 10 Rohingya men on September 2 in the Rakhine village of that was carried out by security forces and local villagers.

Seven soldiers have been sentenced to jail with hard labour for their part in the killings, according to a post by the late Tuesday.

The case against the journalists has proceeded despite international calls for their release. Last month Reuters announced that had joined the legal team.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 11 2018. 10:40 IST