Yangon: Two Reuters journalists jailed for seven years while investigating atrocities committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar had their appeal dismissed Friday, dismaying colleagues and tearful family members who had held slim hopes they would walk free. Reporters Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were arrested in Yangon in December 2017 and later jailed for violating the state secrets act, a charge Reuters said was trumped up to muzzle their reporting.

Prosecutors say the two had classified information regarding security operations in Rakhine state, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled during an army-led crackdown the United Nations has described as “ethnic cleansing”. Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon Regional High Court, said the original verdict was a “reasonable decision” delivered in line with the law. “The court decides to dismiss the appeal,” he said. The reporters’ wives cried after the decision, which condemns the pair to continue their incarceration at Yangon’s notorious Insein prison, where they have been held for the last 13 months.