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Reporters cleared in Thai navy defamation case

© Reuters. Morison and Sidasathian, reporters for the Phuketwan news website, speak to media as they arrive to a criminal court in Phuket

By Martin Petty and Pairat Temphairojana

PHUKET, Thailand (Reuters) - A court on the Thai island of Phuket cleared two journalists on Tuesday of defaming the Thai navy and other related charges in a report they published in 2013 on the trafficking of Muslim minority Rohingya people from Myanmar.

The high-profile case was one of a number brought by authorities under Thailand's harsh defamation and cyber-crime laws that have drawn criticism from rights groups concerned about curbs on freedom of speech in the military-run country.

The complaint against Australian Alan Morison and Thai national Chutima Sidasathian was filed by a naval officer based in Phuket.

The two journalists faced up to two years in prison on the defamation charges and five years for offences under Thailand's Computer Crimes Act.

The judge at the criminal court in Phuket ruled the two not guilty on all counts in a verdict that took less than 15 minutes to read.

"I feel fantastic, the bad dream has ended," Morison said.

"We're just so pleased that it's over. It's...


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