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Reuters journalist Kyaw Soe Oo. Photo: YE AUNG THU / AFP / Getty Images

Prosecutors in Myanmar requested on Wednesday that charges under the country's 1923 Official Secrets Act be brought against two Reuters reporters who were arrested in December, Reuters reports.

Why it matters: The charges have a maximum sentence of 14 years, per Reuters. The U.S. State Department released a statement Wednesday, saying the U.S. "is deeply disappointed by today's court decision," and called for the journalists' "immediate and unconditional release."

What happened: The two reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were covering the Rohingya crisis in the state of Rakhine. After being invited to meet with police officers over dinner, they were "arrested almost immediately after being handed some documents by the officers they had gone to meet," according to their families.

  • Section 3 of the Official Secrets Act refers to "entering prohibited places, taking images or handling secret official documents" that could be used by an enemy.
  • The Ministry of Information said the two were "arrested for possessing important and secret government documents related to Rakhine State and security forces," Reuters reports.
  • Stephen J. Adler, President and Editor-in-Chief of Reuters, said: "We view this as a wholly unwarranted, blatant attack on press freedom."

What's next: The court is considering a bail amount; the next hearing is on January 23.

Go deeper

Trump impeachment trial to start week of Feb. 8, Schumer says

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: The Washington Post via Getty

The Senate will begin former President Trump's impeachment trial the week of Feb. 8, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Friday on the Senate floor.

The state of play: Schumer announced the schedule after reaching an agreement with Republicans. The House will transmit the article of impeachment against the former president late Monday.

1 hour ago - Health

CDC extends interval between COVID vaccine doses for exceptional cases

Photo: Joseph Prezioso/AFP via Getty

Patients can space out the two doses of the coronavirus vaccine by up to six weeks if it’s "not feasible" to follow the shorter recommended window, according to updated guidance from the Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention.

Driving the news: With the prospect of vaccine shortages and a low likelihood that supply will expand before April, the latest changes could provide a path to vaccinate more Americans — a top priority for President Biden.

Texas AG sues Biden administration over deportation freeze

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton speaks to members of the media in 2016. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing the Biden administration in federal district court over its 100-day freeze on deporting unauthorized immigrants, and he's asking for a temporary restraining order.

Between the lines: The freeze went into effect Friday, temporarily halting most immigration enforcement in the U.S. In the lawsuit, Paxton claims the move "violates the U.S. Constitution, federal immigration and administrative law, and a contractual agreement between Texas" and the Department of Homeland Security.