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Three journalists and two owners of a defunct Myanmarese weekly were sentenced to two years in prison for sedition Oct. 16 by a court in Yangon, local media reported.

Reporter Kyaw Zaw Hein, editors Win Tin and Thura Aung and owners Yin Min Htun and Kyaw Min Khaing of the Bi Mon Te Nay weekly newspaper were arrested in July after publishing a statement from an activist group claiming falsely that opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi and other opposition figures had formed an interim government to replace President Thein Sein’s administration, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.

The court found that the defendants had violated a section of the country’s penal code prohibiting statements that can “alarm the public,” Radio Free Asia said. That provision, widely used during the former military regime, broadly defines defamation of the state.

The sentencing follows the trial of four journalists and an executive for the news outlet Unity Journal involved in reporting on a secret chemical weapons factory in the country. In July, the five were sentenced to 10 years in prison — a sentence that was reduced to seven years in October, according to the news site Irrawaddy.

 

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