Aung San Suu Kyi: Jailing Journalists For Reporting Truth Is Justified

Aung San Suu Kyi: Jailing Journalists For Reporting Truth Is Justified

Aung San Suu Kyi: Jailing Journalists For Reporting Truth Is Justified

United Nations investigators last month said Myanmar's military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with "genocidal intent", and that the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under worldwide law.

In her first public comments on a case viewed as a new low for press freedom in Burma, the Nobel Peace laureate denied that the seven-year sentence imposed on Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, had anything to do with freedom of expression.

"Suu Kyi's problem is she thinks that this kind of blather still works because she's the one saying it, but the reality is people now see through her act and recognize her leading role in Myanmar's campaign to keep a lid on what the military really did to the Rohingya", said Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch's Asia division. "The case was held in open court".

Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Vietnam Thursday, Suu Kyi said her government had attempted to ensure "development and rule of law" in the far western state.

Suu Kyi's speech would seem to indicate the worldwide condemnation on both cases has finally gotten through to former Nobel Peace Prize victor.

Suu Kyi, a onetime democracy icon, sparked global ire for standing by the armed forces.

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"Open courts are created to shed light on the justice process", International Commission of Jurists legal adviser Sean Bain said.

The Myanmar leader added that due process would allow the two journalists to appeal the sentence and enable them to point out why the judgement was wrong.

The convictions came amid mounting pressure on Myanmar over a security crackdown sparked by attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on security forces in Rakhine State in west Myanmar in August 2017.

Last month, United Nations investigators said Myanmar's military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with "genocidal intent", and that the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under worldwide law.

The International Criminal Court has said it can investigate the alleged deportation of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Ms Suu Kyi has been heavily criticised for failing to speak out about the crisis which has seen almost a million minority Muslims fleeing Myanmar into Bangladesh. Amid the ongoing Rohingya crisis, she also declined to attend last year's General Assembly meeting.

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Bangladesh "was not ready" to start repatriation of the Rohingya in January as agreed under a deal between the two nations, she said.

It was widely seen as the authorities taking revenge on Reuters for their reporting on the Rakhine crisis which has seen the country accused of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority and of ethnic cleansing.

The Rohingya would stay in refugee camps until they return to Myanmar or are resettled in other countries, Haque said.

The guilty verdicts of the two Reuters reporters on September 3 has sharply divided public opinion in Myanmar.

The court maintained that the two journalists had meant to damage Myanmar with documents that police witnesses admitting to planting on the pair just moments before their arrest.

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