Imprisonment not linked to freedom of press as reporters broke Official Secrets Act, says Nobel Peace Prize winner.
While reporting on atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims during a military crackdown in Rakhine state Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, were imprisoned last week after being found guilty of breaching the country's hardline Official Secrets Act. As reported Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi defended on Thursday the jailing of two Reuters news agency journalists convicted of collecting state secrets."They were not jailed because they were journalists, they were jailed because ... the court has decided that they have broken the Official Secrets Act," Suu Kyi said at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Vietnam. Suu Kyi went further onto say "I wonder whether many people have actually read the summary of the judgement, which had nothing to do with freedom of expression at all, it had to do with an Official Secrets Act,If we believe in the rule of law, they have every right to appeal the judgment and to point out why the judgement was wrong."
At the time of their arrest last December the journalists were investigating the killing of Rohingya villagers by security forces. They both had pleaded not guilty.
"Open courts are designed to shed light on the justice process. Sadly in this case we've seen both institutional and individual failings to hold up the principles of rule of law and human rights." Said Sean Bain, of the International Commission of Jurists.
Rights groups who have urged the Nobel laureate to press for a presidential pardon for the reporters responds to these comments as follows."This is a disgraceful attempt by Aung San Suu Kyi to defend the indefensible," said Amnesty International's Minar Pimple, describing the leader's comments as "a deluded misrepresentation of the facts"."The international condemnation heading Aung San Suu Kyi's way is fully deserved, she should be ashamed.
One of the country’s most prominent political prisoners and a close ally of Suu Kyi honoured Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were honoured by a foundation set up by the late Win Tin.
The UN says Myanmar military leaders must face prosecution. UN investigators said Myanmar's military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with "genocidal intent", and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.Where Myanmar denied allegations of atrocities, saying its military carried out justifiable operations against fighter
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