Suu Kyi says Myanmar right in jailing Reuters journalists; Rohingya crackdown could have been handled differently

Image: ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute

Suu Kyi says Myanmar right in jailing Reuters journalists; Rohingya crackdown could have been handled differently

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 13 Sep 2018

Naypyidaw, Sept 13 (IBNS): Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has finally broken her silence on the Rohingya crackdown and jailing of Reuters journalists.

Defending the country's actions in sentencing the two journalists to seven-year-jail terms each, she said that the latter had broken the law and had nothing to do with freedom of expression.

She made the comment while attending an international economics conference in Vietnam. 

The Nobel Peace Prize winner added that the convicted journalists, who claimed innocence, had every right to "appeal the judgement and to point out why the judgement was wrong".

Identified as Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the two journalists were carrying official documents, handed to them by the police, during the time of their arrests.

Both the convicts, however, have repeatedly said that it was a set up by the police.

'I have no fear," Wa Lone told media after the verdict.

"I have not done anything wrong. I believe in justice, democracy and freedom," he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to her comments, global rights watchdog Human Rights Watch stated that she failed to comprehend the nature of the case.

Deputy Asia Director Phil Robertson said: "She fails to understand that real 'rule of law' means respect for evidence presented in court, actions brought based on clearly defined and proportionate laws, and independence of the judiciary from influence by the government or security forces."

"On all these counts, the trial of the Reuters journalists failed the test," Robertson added.

Suu Kyi, who was in constant pressure from the international community to comment on the prosecution and the army crackdown on Rohingya community, said that the latter could have been handed better.

Calling the Rohingya crackdown a genocide, the UN has published a report stating that top Burmese military leaders must face trial for it.

However, Myanmar has rejected the report equivocally.

Government spokesman Zaw Htay said that Myanmar did not agree or accept any report published by the UN Human Rights Council.

Htay also added that Myanmar is strictly against human rights violation.

"We didn't allow the FFM [the UN Fact-Finding Mission] to enter into Myanmar, that's why we don't agree and accept any resolutions made by the Human Rights Council," Htay told local Global New Light.

He said that the country has its own independent enquiry commission to respond to the "false allegations made by the UN agencies and other international communities".

In a previous investigation conducted by the army, the body had cleared itself of committing any transgression.

The UN report, prepared by investigators Marzuki Darusman, Radhika Coomaraswamy and Christopher Sidoti, 'underlined the horrific and organized nature of the brutality meted out on civilians in Myanmar’s Rakhine state since 2011, as well as Kachin and Shan states'.

Despite being out of favour with the international community for its handling of the Rohningya issue, Myanmar has gained significant support from China.

Speaking against the UN report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "Unilteral criticism or exerting pressure is actually not helpful in resolving the problem."

The Rohingya issue, which made headlines last year, has displaced over 700,000 people. The violence has also killed thousands.

Image:  ISEAS – Yusof Ishak Institute 

Suu Kyi says Myanmar right in jailing Reuters journalists; Rohingya crackdown could have been handled differently

India Blooms News Service
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