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Reuters reporters Wa Lone, Kyaw Soe Oo jailed in Myanmar freed after more than 500 days

Updated : 2019-05-07 11:46:35

Two Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar after they were convicted of breaking the Official Secrets Act walked free from a prison on the outskirts of Yangon on Tuesday after spending more than 500 days behind bars. The two reporters, Wa Lone, 33, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29, had been convicted in September and sentenced to seven years in jail, in a case that raised questions about Myanmar's progress toward democracy and sparked an outcry from diplomats and human rights advocates. President Win Myint has pardoned thousands of other prisoners in mass amnesties since last month. It is customary in Myanmar for authorities to free prisoners across the country around the time of the traditional New Year, which began on April 17. Reuters has said the two men did not commit any crime and had called for their release. Swamped by media and well-wishers as they walked through the gates of Insein Prison, a grinning Wa Lone gave a thumbs up and said he was grateful for the international efforts to secure their freedom. "I'm really happy and excited to see my family and my colleagues. I can't wait to go to my newsroom," he said. Kyaw Soe Oo smiled and waved to reporters. Before their arrest in December 2017, the two had been working on an investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and Buddhist civilians in western Myanmar's Rakhine State during an army crackdown that began in August 2017. The operation sent more than 730,000 Rohingya fleeing to Bangladesh, according to UN estimates. The report the two men authored, featuring testimony from perpetrators, witnesses, and families of the victims was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for international reporting in May, adding to a number of accolades received by the pair for their journalism.

Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo celebrates with his daughter after being freed from prison, after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo celebrates with his daughter after being freed from prison, after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone celebrates with his daughter after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone celebrates with his daughter after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo celebrate with their children after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo celebrate with their children after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporter Wa Lone poses with wife Pan Ei Mon and daughter, along with Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo carrying his daughter next to wife Chit Su Win, after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporter Wa Lone poses with wife Pan Ei Mon and daughter, along with Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo carrying his daughter next to wife Chit Su Win, after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo celebrates with his wife and daughter after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo celebrates with his wife and daughter after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo celebrate with family members after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo celebrate with family members after being freed from prison in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang/Pool
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (partially obscured) walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo (partially obscured) walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo gesture as they walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo gesture as they walk free outside Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Wa Lone reacts as he is freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Wa Lone reacts as he is freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo reacts after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Kyaw Soe Oo reacts after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo react in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo react in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Wa Lone reacts in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporter Wa Lone reacts in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo react in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo react in a vehicle after being freed from Insein prison after receiving a presidential pardon in Yangon, Myanmar, May 7, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Wang
Detained Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo arrive at Insein court in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo
Detained Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo arrive at Insein court in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo
Detained Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are escorted by police as they leave after a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo
Detained Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone are escorted by police as they leave after a court hearing in Yangon, Myanmar, Aug. 20, 2018. REUTERS/Ann Wang/File Photo
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