Reaction after Reuters journalists freed from Myanmar prison

(Reuters) – Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from prison on Tuesday after spending more than 500 days behind bars.

Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo gesture as they walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Myat Thu Kyaw

Following are comments and reactions:

STEVE ADLER, REUTERS EDITOR-IN-CHIEF:

“We are enormously pleased that Myanmar has released our courageous reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Since their arrests 511 days ago, they have become symbols of the importance of press freedom around the world. We welcome their return.”

LORD ARA DARZI, MEMBER OF MYANMAR ADVISORY GROUP:

“This outcome shows that dialogue works, even in the most difficult of circumstances.

“The power of dialogue must be turned towards securing a lasting peace in Rakhine State and the return of the hundreds of thousands of refugees, whose desperate plight continues. This is essential if Myanmar is to build on today’s progress so that all its citizens can live together in dignity in the hope of a better tomorrow.”

UNITED NATIONS IN MYANMAR

“The UN in Myanmar welcomes the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo from prison. The UN in Myanmar considers the release of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo a step toward improving the freedom of the press and a sign of government’s commitment to Myanmar’s transition to democracy.

“The UN stands ready to continue to support Myanmar in its complex transition process.”

AMAL CLOONEY, COUNSEL TO WA LONE, KYAW SOE OO AND REUTERS:

“Since taking on this case over a year ago, I have witnessed incredible determination by Reuters, in particular editor-in-chief Steve Adler and Chief Counsel Gail Gove, in their pursuit of justice for their brave reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

“It is inspiring to see a news organization so committed to the protection of innocent men and the profession of journalism.

“It has been an honor to represent Reuters and the two journalists in this case and I hope that their release signals a renewed commitment to press freedom in Myanmar.”

Editing by Darren Schuettler



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