Asia

Amal Clooney to represent detained Myanmar reporters

Amal Clooney Image copyright AFP

Well-known human rights lawyer Amal Clooney has said she will join the legal team representing two Reuters reporters detained in Myanmar.

She said "it is clear beyond doubt" that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were innocent, and called for their immediate release.

The two journalists are accused of violating Myanmar's colonial-era Official Secrets Act while reporting on the Rohingya crisis.

They face up to 14 years in prison.

'Arrested for reporting'

"The outcome of this case will tell us a lot about Myanmar's commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech," Ms Clooney said in a statement.

"Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news," she said.

Reuters says the two were arrested because they had been investigating a mass execution of Rohingyas by soldiers and villagers.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Kyaw Soe Oo (centre left) and Wa Lone (centre right) were arrested in December

Reuters' chief counsel Gail Gove said that "retaining Ms Clooney greatly strengthens our international legal expertise and allows us to broaden those efforts".

She said they would "pursue all avenues to secure our reporters' release".

Ms Clooney, a British-Lebanese barrister married to Hollywood actor George Clooney, is known for taking on high-profile human rights cases.

In 2015, she was part of the legal team working towards the release of two Al Jazeera journalists jailed in Egypt.

More recently, she represented Nadia Murad - a Nobel Peace Prize nominee who was captured and tortured by IS.

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