Aung San Suu Kyi defends jailing of Burmese journalists

Lester Mason
September 13, 2018

However, her reticence on both the fate of the Rohingya and the jailed journalists has been condemned by human rights groups and one-time admirers worldwide.

On Wednesday Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were honoured by a foundation set up by the late Win Tin, one of the country's most prominent political prisoners and a close ally of a Suu Kyi.

Aung San Suu Kyi also rejected criticism over the show-trial conviction last week of two Reuters news agency reporters who helped expose extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya men and boys.

Following the atrocities in the Rakhine state, the Burmese authorities, acknowledged the killings and jailed seven soldiers but the military exonerated itself of blame for the violence.

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

Tun Thura Thet of Myanmar Information Technology praised Aung San Suu Kyi's responses to what he said were challenging questions.

"If we believe in the rule of law, they have every right to appeal the judgment and to point out why the judgment was wrong". He said last week the court was independent and followed due process. "We can't choose who should be protected by rule of law".

During eight months of hearings, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo testified that two policemen they had not met before handed them papers rolled up in a newspaper during a meeting at a Yangon restaurant on December 12.

On Feb. 1, a police witness said under cross-examination that information in the documents had already been published in newspapers.

Dan Damon has been speaking to Phil Robertson, the Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch Asia.

Last year, Suu Kyi's office said her reason for not attending the 2017 General Assembly session was because she had to handle domestic security issues after the attacks that triggered the army crackdown.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine past year after the army launched a brutal counterinsurgency campaign in response to August 2017 attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces.

Once a vocal and valiant proponent of freedom of speech, Aung San Suu Kyi did not have much to say while the case was on trial, even as worldwide governments and the media panned it as an attack on free speech and a huge step backward for democracy in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi said today (September 13) during a speech at the World Economic Forum being held in Vietnam that "there are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could have been handled better" in Rakhine state.

"We have to be fair to all sides". "We can not go and fetch them from Bangladesh".

Bangladesh's foreign minister called on developed countries to take in more Rohingya on a humanitarian basis. United Nations investigators have said the campaign by the Myanmar military was carried out with "genocidal intent".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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