Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the two Reuter’s journalists unjustly imprisoned in Myanmar, have been released.
I have written a short piece for the New Statesman, commenting on how presidential pardons do nothing to tackle the underlying injustice, and perpetuate the chill on freedom of expression.
Pardons have a particular place in judicial systems. There may be unusual circumstances where a person has indeed broken the law, but the sentence imposed is inappropriate. A pardon asserts that the conviction was correct, but alleviates the punishment.
That is wholly unsatisfactory in cases where the law has been abused, as it was in the case of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. Although they are out of prison, there has been no acknowledgement by the state that the convictions were a clear miscarriage of justice. In fact, the pardon reasserts the just opposite – that there was nothing wrong with the imprisonment.
Read the whole thing on the New Statesman website.
Rebecca Vincent, UK Bureau Chief for Reports Sans Frontiers, adds this:
.@robertsharp59 is right – pardons are a far cry from justice & leave the state looking merciful towards “criminal” journalists. But until jailing journalists starts to have serious international consequences, it’s often the only hope. https://t.co/Zi3jvrUCEh #FreeWaLoneKyawSoeOo
— Rebecca Vincent (@rebecca_vincent) May 7, 2019
Photo by yrstrly.