Journalists in court over charges Myanmar secrecy law

YANGON, MYANMAR: Two detained Reuters journalists are appearing in court after being officially charged with violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 based on allegations they violated the law by acquiring "important secret papers" from two policemen. The charge is punishable by up to 14 years.

Lawyers will present bail arguments at the hearing Tuesday and police will testify about the evidence against the journalists.

The two police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where security forces are widely blamed for rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims. A security crackdown has sent more than 680,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.

Rights and media groups have criticized Myanmar's civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi for its crackdown on media. Their detention has caused global condemnation.