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The defence lawyer representing jailed journalists from the Burmese newspaper, Bi Midday Sun, has announced that the Rangoon Region Court rejected an appeal for four of the paper’s employees currently serving a two year imprisonment sentence in Rangoon.
“We still do not know the exact reason for the rejection,” said lawyer Kyaw Win.
“We carefully and appropriately appealed with evidence but the court clearly did not accept it. The Supreme Court is the only place left. Whether we give it a shot depends on the accused, as they have lost a good amount of faith.”
The appeal, submitted to the court in January, claimed the men were innocent and, even if they were found guilty, action taken against them should be under media law and carry a lighter sentence.
Five staff members of the weekly news journal were sentenced to two years in jail by Rangoon’s Pabedan Township Court in October 2014, after being found guilty of “defamation of the state” under Article 505(b) of the Penal Code.
The charges were levied after the news journal published an article in July 2014 citing a false report from an activist group stating that Aung San Suu Kyi had formed an interim government with a number of ethnic group leaders.
Seven of the journal’s employees had originally been arrested; editors Ye Min Aung and Win Tin, editor-in-chief Aung Thant, owner Kyaw Min Khine and his wife Ei Ei San, office manager Yin Min Tun and reporter Kyaw Zaw Hein, as well as a member of the activist group who created the false report. Charges against Ye Min Aung and Ei Ei San were later dropped due to a lack of evidence.
The case is the latest in a growing list of prosecutions against media workers. Read more about these cases here.