(CNN)Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists who had worked for Reuters and exposed the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys, recently received word that their final appeal had been denied by Myanmar’s Supreme Court.
This means that the two reporters — both fathers of children under age 4 — will, short of a pardon, spend the next seven years in jail. They were convicted of charges in relation to a blockbuster investigative report they had filed documenting the summary executions committed by Myanmar soldiers in the village of Inn Din in late 2017. The two were found to have violated Myanmar’s Official Secrets Act, despite credible testimony by a police officer at their trial that they had been framed and committed no crime.
Press freedom advocates have risen up in defense of these dedicated journalists, awarding them prizes including the PEN/Barbey Freedom to Write Award, the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize and more than a dozen other honors. The US government, European leaders and other diplomats have weighed in, imploring Myanmar’s still-newly-elected democratic leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, herself a one-time human rights icon, to reverse this egregious violation of international norms protecting the freedom of the press. To no avail. Suu Kyi and the military generals with whom she makes common cause in order to sustain her rule are seemingly impervious to international pressure.