Mark Field, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, said:
I am extremely disappointed that 2 Reuters journalists in Burma, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have today been found guilty and sentenced to 7 years imprisonment for nothing more than doing their jobs. They provided valuable reporting on abhorrent human rights violations in Rakhine State, and I have consistently called for their immediate release, including directly with the Burmese government.
In any democracy, journalists must be free to carry out their jobs without fear or intimidation. This verdict has undermined both freedom of the media and the rule of law in Burma. Officials from the British Embassy in Rangoon have attended the trial throughout, and believe that the judge has ignored the evidence presented to him, as well as ruling against Burma’s own laws.
This is a bad day for Burma, but those of us who have consistently called for Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s freedom will not give up. We call again today for their immediate release. We will remain in close contact with Reuters, and maintain our support as they consider next steps.