Amal Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers specialising in international law and human rights, has confirmed that she will serve as counsel to Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters currently on trial in Myanmar. Ms Clooney has been instructed jointly by Reuters and the two defendants in the case.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are investigative reporters who were arrested last December following their reporting of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys in Rakhine State, Myanmar. They are accused of violating the country’s Official Secrets Act, a colonial-era statute which carries a maximum prison sentence of 14 years, and are currently detained in a Yangon prison while the criminal trial against them is ongoing.
When asked why she decided to take on this case, Amal Clooney stated that: “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news. I have reviewed the case file and it is clear beyond doubt that the two journalists are innocent and should be released immediately. Yet they have been denied bail and face 14 years in prison. The outcome of this case will tell us a lot about Myanmar’s commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech.“
Gail Gove, Chief Counsel of Reuters, said, “We will pursue all avenues to secure our reporters’ release. Retaining Ms Clooney greatly strengthens our international legal expertise and allows us to broaden those efforts.”
Any inquiries relating to this press release can be directed to Abbe Serphos at Reuters.