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Myanmar court jails Reuters reporters for 7 years

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YANGON — A Myanmar judge has found two Reuters journalists guilty of breaching a law on state secrets and jailed them for seven years on Monday, in a landmark case seen as a test of progress toward democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

Yangon northern district judge Ye Lwin said Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, breached the colonial-era Official Secrets Act when they collected and obtained confidential documents.

“The defendants … have breached Official Secrets Act section 3.1.c, and are sentenced to seven years,” the judge said, adding that the time served since they were detained on Dec.

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12 would be taken into account. The defense can appeal the decision to a regional court and then the supreme court.

The verdict comes amid mounting pressure on the government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi over a security crackdown sparked by attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on security forces in Rakhine State in west Myanmar in August 2017.

More than 700,000 stateless Rohingya Muslims have fled into Bangladesh since then, according to U.N. agencies.

The two reporters, who were investigating the killing by the security forces of Rohingya villagers at the time of their arrest, had pleaded not guilty.

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Dolpa Ward Chairman held on charge of idol theft

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DOLPA — Karma Gurung, Chairman of Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality-5 in Upper Dolpa, was arrested on charge of idol theft from Kathmandu. A team of police personnel from the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) has arrested Gurung from Bauddha in the capital city.

Police said that Ward Chairman Karma was held for allegedly stealing Buddha idols from Rahap Monastery situated in She-Phoksundo Rural Municipality-4.

Gurung, an independent candidate, was elected the ward chair in the recent local level elections but later joined the Nepal Communist Party (NCP) after the unification of two communist parties.

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Likewise, Ukren Pasang Gurung, 41, and Pasang Lundup Gurung of She-phoksundo Rural Municipality; Jhyampachhuldim Lama, 41, and Tshering Dawa Gurung, 43, of Dolpo Buddha Rural Municipality were also held from a special team of CIB.

Asked about the arrest of ward chairman, Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) of Dolpa District Police Office Awadesh Bista confirmed Karma Gurung’s arrest on charge of idol theft and added that further investigations were ongoing.

A total of 42 Buddha’s idols were stolen from Rahap Monastery some eight years ago but the locals had noticed the issue just some four months ago.

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