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Burmese court reduces journalists' sentence to seven years

UPDATE from Mizzima News: 'Unity Five' case will go to Myanmar's Supreme Court (15 October 2014)

The five Unity journal employees who were sentenced to ten years imprisonment with hard labour have had their sentence reduced to 7 years imprisonment; this was announced in a statement from the Magway Region High Court on October 2, 2014.

After their sentencing in July, U Robert Sann Aung, the human rights lawyer defending the four journalists and the chief executive officer of the newspaper, told Mizzima that the group had lodged an appeal with the court.

A court at Pakkoku in Magway Region passed the sentence against the Unity five on July 10 after they were convicted of breaching Myanmar's 1923 colonial-era Official Secrets Act, trespassing in a restricted area and taking photos of a Defence Ministry facility without permission.

The charges arose from a report carried by Unity in January that a military facility in Magway Region's Pauk Township was making chemical weapons, a claim denied by the government.

On May 9, the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies of California in the United States of America announced that the weapons factory in Pauk Township, Magway, had design features "consistent with a chemical plant".

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