Burma: Reuters journalists to stay in jail

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On Tuesday, Myanmar's military announced it had sentenced seven soldiers to 10 years in prison for their part in killings, a case covered by the two reporters, a development both referenced as they left court, contrasting the sentence the soldiers received to the maximum sentence they might receive.

Myanmar has said it has already verified several hundred Rohingya refugees for possible repatriation.

Myanmar has rejected accusations of ethnic cleansing in its western state of Rakhine, saying its security forces launched a legitimate counter-insurgency operation on August 25 in response to Rohingya militant attacks.

The two had worked on Reuters' coverage of the crisis in Rakhine, where security forces' response to a Muslim insurgents' attack have driven almost 700,000 Rohingya to neighbouring Bangladesh.

The murders were part of a larger military crackdown on the Rohingya, that began in response to insurgent attacks on security forces in August and has since prompted nearly 700,000 Muslims to flee to Bangladesh amid allegations of mass murder, rape and arson.

Myanmar's security forces launched brutal counterattacks against Rohingya Muslims after a Rohingya insurgent group attacked police outposts on August 25.

Myanmar, which considers most Rohingya as illegal immigrants from Muslim-majority Bangladesh, has denied the accusations. The reporters were arrested for allegedly collecting classified documents from their sources in the police.

However, the army has repeatedly claimed the Rohingya men were "terrorists", but has not presented any evidence to back up the allegation.

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"Those who killed people in the mass killing were given a sentence of 10 years".

"We journalists just did our job as we have the rights of free press in the democracy and now we are facing the charge that could probably put us in prison for 14 years", Wa Lone shouted out.

The journalists have denied any wrongdoing, but the court said there is "a proper reason" to keep them detained.

Wa Lone's wife Pan Ei Mon said despite her husband urging her not to expect what would have been a dramatic court decision on Wednesday to release him and his colleague from custody, she had been optimistic.

Condemnation of Wednesday's ruling by the presiding magistrate Ye Lwin came predictably from Reuters, which has been a vocal supporter of its local reporters as the case has proceeded.

Reuters president Stephen J. Adler said in a statement that the company is "deeply disappointed" with the court's decision.

"We believe that there are solid grounds for the court to dismiss this matter and to release our journalists".

Rohingya leaders in the camps said they would welcome the opportunity to meet the minister in person.

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