MYANMAR: Jailed Journalists Were Investigating Massacre

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Myanmar's government also turned down a visit by council envoys to Rakhine state, saying it was "not the right time", Kuwait's Ambassador Mansour al-Otaibi said. Another one shows the men's bodies in a mass grave.

Reuters' account draws on interviews from the victims' families as well as testimony from villagers and security personnel, confirming the military's role in the incident.

Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in the statement that the legislation is not meant to hurt Myanmar's economy or people, but rather to hold military officials responsible for their actions.

Government spokesperson Zaw Htay did not deny the allegations and said the government would investigate if presented with evidence of human rights violations.

The foreign secretary will see first-hand the conditions of the Rohingya who have fled Burma to refugee camps in Bangladesh and discuss with the Burmese government the steps needed to enable them to return to their homes. British Labour Party lawmaker Rosena Allin-Khan told BBC's Newsnight that the Reuters report was consistent with accounts she had heard while working as a doctor at Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh past year.

"We want to help by sharing knowledge and experience to prevent terrorists from establishing new bases in the region", he said on Wednesday. "This evidence marks a turning point because, for the first time since this all started to unfold in August, we have heard from the perpetrators themselves".


UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, said in a tweet: "During the reporting of this article, two Reuters journalists were arrested by Myanmar police".

He was the first high-level military officer to be named in the sanctions for overseeing the campaign of atrocities and one of 52 individuals and entities that the USA has sanctioned under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act for alleged human rights violations and corruption. Villagers interviewed by Reuters said there was no attack by a large number of security forces in in Inn Din.

Campaign group Fortify Rights also called for an independent investigation. "They remain held & must absolutely be released".

In what worldwide observers including the United Nations have said amounts to ethnic cleansing, the Myanmar military and militias have since driven out hundreds of thousands of the country's Rohingya minority in a campaign of killings, burning and rape.

Yanghee Lee, the United Nations human rights investigator for Myanmar who has been barred from visiting the Rohingya areas, echoed that call and added in a tweet: "Independent & credible investigation needed to get to the bottom of the Inn Din massacre".

The two reporters are being tried under the Official Secrets Act - a British colonial-era, counterespionage law - for their investigative work with Reuters, the global news wire, on military operations in Rakhine state. If convicted they face up to 14 years in prison.

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