November 14, 2018 / 7:31 AM / a month ago

Pence presses Myanmar's Suu Kyi to pardon Reuters journalists - official

Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence hold a bilateral meeting in Singapore, November 14, 2018. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - U.S. Vice President Mike Pence pressed Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi “multiple times” on Wednesday to pardon two Reuters journalists jailed in her country, a senior White House official said.

Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested in Yangon in December 2017. They were found guilty in September of breaching the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to seven years in prison.

Pence met Suu Kyi on the sidelines of an Asia summit in Singapore.

“He raised the case of two Reuters journalists in particular and raised the request that a pardon could be made,” a senior White House official told reporters on condition of anonymity. “They had a very candid exchange of views on that.”

The White House official said Pence urged Suu Kyi directly to pardon the Reuters journalists “multiple times.”

The official declined to comment on Suu Kyi’s response in the closed-door meeting.

Lawyers for the two Reuters reporters have lodged an appeal against their conviction.

At the time of their arrest in December, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim villagers during an army crackdown in Rakhine state.

Reporting by John Geddie; writing by Jack Kim; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

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