The two Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar for their reporting on the violence against the Rohingya in Rahkine state have lost their appeal, with the court upholding their guilty verdict and lengthy prison sentences.
Aung Naing, a judge at the Yangon regional high court, said Friday the original verdict was "not wrong according to the law" and was a "reasonable decision".
The trial of the pair was widely criticised, with human rights groups and worldwide governments accusing the Myanmar regime of using the courts to target the two reporters for their reporting on the military-led massacre of Rohingya muslims in the village of Inn Din in Rahkine.
Lawyers for Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, had filed the appeal in November against their conviction, citing evidence of a police set-up and lack of proof of a crime.
The defence has the option of making a further appeal to the country's supreme court, based in the capital Naypyitaw. They remain behind bars for one reason: "those in power sought to silence the truth", Stephen J Adler, Reuters editor-in-chief, said in a statement.More news: Major League Baseball rumors: Former A's infielder Jed Lowrie, Mets agree to contract
When arrested the two were investigating a mass execution of Rohingyas, hundreds of thousands of whom have been forced to flee destruction and persecution in the northern Rakhine province of Myanmar (also called Burma).
Outside the country, the two men have been hailed as heroes and jointly named Time Magazine's Person of the Year 2018, alongside other persecuted and slain journalists.
The reporters' wives cried after the decision which condemns the pair to continue their stay at Yangon's notorious Insein prison, where they have been held for the last 13 months.
"(The decision) shows her contempt and the contempt in the country for global opinion", Zawacki said.
They maintain their innocence, saying the authorities set them up.More news: Google Assistant lock screen access is coming to more Android devices
The military had previously released its own investigation into allegations of abuse in Rakhine, and exonerated itself of all wrongdoing, despite large amounts of testimony from Rohingya refugees describing widespread atrocities.
"One day in prison was already an injustice". Myanmar authorities must release the two journalists immediately and unconditionally.
But they have gained little sympathy within Myanmar.
"We are very disappointed about today's judgment", said the journalists' defence lawyer Than Zaw Aung, adding that the decision would have a "negative impact" on the country and its media.
"The court decides to dismiss the appeal", he said.More news: UEFA bans Bayern’s Mueller for both games against Liverpool