Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar under the country’s Official Secrets Act for reporting on a massacre of Rohingya civilians have been freed after more than 500 days.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were released as part of an amnesty of 6,520 prisoners by the country’s President Win Myint.
The pair, who received this year’s Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting, have been locked up since December 2017, when they were charged under the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act for allegedly disseminating secret information sensitive to national security.
The reporters walked free Tuesday from Yangon’s Insein jail, amid a gaggle of reporters, just weeks after their final appeal was quashed.
As he left the prison, Wa Lone thanked supporters for calling for his and his colleague’s release.
“Inside in the prison and also around the world people were wishing to release us so I’d like to say thank you very much for everything,” he said, adding he was “really happy — excited — to see my family and colleagues. And I can’t wait to go to my newsroom.”
Both men have families with young children. Kyaw Soe Oo has a three-year-old daughter, while Wa Lone’s daughter was born after his arrest.
On Tuesday, the two men were finally reunited with their wives and families in Yangon. In emotional scenes, Wa Lone was pictured holding his young daughter for the first time outside of police custody.