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The verdict in the case of two Reuters reporters charged under the country’s Official State Secrets Act was postponed until 3 September, with a court official telling attendees that judge Ye Lwin is sick.
Media, diplomats, NGO staff and observers had gathered en masse at Insein court to hear the verdict, which was expected today, delivered on Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28. The pair have been detained for nearly 300 days.
The replacement judge, standing in for Ye Lwin, announced the decision within minutes of his arrival.
“The judge is in poor health, so I am here to announce that the verdict is postponed to the third,” said Judge Khin Maung Maung.
Defence lawyer Khin Maing Zaw told media the verdict is ready, but can only be delivered by Ye Lwin, the judge responsible in this case.
Wa Lone was characteristically optimistic, talking to journalists before he was led away by police.
“We are not afraid or shaken. The truth is on our side. Whatever the situation is, we will not be shaken. They cannot make us weak,” he said.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, Burmese staff with the Reuters bureau in Yangon, were arrested in December during their investigation into the Inn Dinn massacre in Rakhine State, in which security forces and villagers executed 10 Rohingya men and boys. The military later admitted to the killings.
The reporters testified that police handed them documents at a restaurant in Yangon shortly before arresting them.
Reporting by Kimberley Phillips and wires.