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UN calls for release of Reuters journalists in Myanmar

Detained Reuters journalist Wa Lone is escorted by police while arriving for a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar February 1, 2018. (Reuters)
GENEVA: The United Nations human rights office called on Friday on Myanmar authorities to release two detained Reuters journalists, a day after they were denied bail.
“We repeat the calls for their immediate release and for the charges to be dropped,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a Geneva news briefing. “We are alarmed at the serious erosion of freedom of expression in Myanmar.”
A Myanmar court on Thursday denied bail to two Reuters journalists charged under a secrecy act that could see them face up to 14 years in jail, in a case that has sparked outcry over shrinking media freedom.
Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 31, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 27, are accused of possessing classified documents thought to relate to the violent military crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.
The crackdown in northern Rakhine state has forced nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims over the border into Bangladesh since August, many carrying allegations of rape, mass murder and arson at the hands of Myanmar’s army.