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International relations

Pence calls on Myanmar to release imprisoned Reuters journalists

In tweet, US vice president hails their work exposing human rights violations

Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo departs court after the verdict announcement in Yongon on Sept. 3.   © Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday called on Myanmar to reverse a court ruling that imprisoned two Reuters journalists for seven years and to release them immediately.

The journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were found guilty under an official secrets law. They were investigating the killing of villagers from the Rohingya Muslim minority by security forces and civilians in Rakhine state when they were arrested in December, and pleaded not guilty to the charges.

"Wa Lone & Kyaw Soe Oo [should] be commended -- not imprisoned -- for their work exposing human rights violations & mass killings. Freedom of religion & freedom of the press are essential to a strong democracy," Pence wrote in a post on Twitter.

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