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5 journalists jailed 10 years for Myanmar stories

Published:Friday | July 11, 2014 | 7:00 AM

YANGON, (AP):

Four reporters and the chief executive of the magazine they work for were sentenced yesterday to 10 years of hard prison labour for violating Myanmar's national security by writing and publishing stories about a weapons factory.

The court sentenced the five men for violating the 1923 Burma State Secrets Act pertaining to trespassing in a prohibited area with prejudicial purpose. The law was enacted when Myanmar was a British colony called Burma.

The weekly Yangon-based Unity journal published stories in late January alleging the military had seized more than 3,000 acres (1,200 hectares) of farmland in Myanmar's central Magwe Region to construct a weapons factory. It reported allegations that the factory would produce chemical weapons, also printing a denial by authorities of the latter allegation.

The authorities defended the arrests as a matter of national security. The magazine has since gone out of business.