Myanmar court refuses bail for reporters in secrets case

A lawyer for two Reuters journalists in Myanmar charged with illegally handling government secrets says a court had denied their request to be released on bail.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested Dec. 12 after police accused them of violating the country's Official Secrets Act for allegedly acquiring "important secret papers" from two policemen. The charge is punishable by up to 14 years in prison.

Lawyer Than Zaw Aung says the presiding judge declared the case is not the sort for which bail could be granted.

The case has been strongly criticized as an effort to intimidate the press, especially its coverage of the sensitive situation in Myanmar's Rakhine state where the military is accused of carrying out massive human rights abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority.