Responding to news of the amnesty and release of Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East and Southeast Asia Director said:
“Today marks an important victory for press freedom in Myanmar. The case against Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo was a travesty of justice from start to finish and they should never have spent a day in prison.
“While all those who campaigned for their release welcome the government’s decision, the reality is the country retains a range of repressive laws used to detain journalists, activists and any perceived critic of the authorities. Until these laws are repealed, journalists and activists remain under a permanent threat of detention and arrest.
“In recent weeks, Amnesty International has recorded a surge in politically motivated arrests – most for criticism of the military. The government must follow through its rightful decision to free Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo by releasing all other journalists and prisoners of conscience detained on hollow charges, and by repealing all laws that keep a chokehold on freedom of expression.”