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Amal Clooney to represent detained Reuters reporters

Amal Clooney (photo), a British barrister specialising in international law and human rights, is to serve as counsel to the two Reuters reporters currently on trial in Myanmar.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have been detained in Myanmar since 12 December. They are accused of violating the country’s colonial-era Official Secrets Act. They face a possible prison sentence of up to 14 years.

Clooney has been instructed jointly by Reuters and the two defendants.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested following their reporting of a massacre of 10 Rohingya men and boys in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

Asked why she decided to take on their case, Clooney said: “Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are being prosecuted simply because they reported the news. I have reviewed the case file and it is clear beyond doubt that the two journalists are innocent and should be released immediately. Yet they have been denied bail and face 14 years in prison. The outcome of this case will tell us a lot about Myanmar’s commitment to the rule of law and freedom of speech.“ 

Gail Gove, Reuters chief counsel, said: “We will pursue all avenues to secure our reporters’ release. Retaining Ms Clooney greatly strengthens our international legal expertise and allows us to broaden those efforts.” ■

Doughty Street Chambers