Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the imprisonment of two Reuters journalists who were sentenced for seven years for the possession of police documents while investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
In her statement, she mentioned that both journalists named Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo respectively had broken the law and their conviction was not related to freedom of expression at all”.
She also said that her government could have handled the Rohingya situation differently.
Since last year, at least 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar after the army launched a crackdown on then in reaction of attacks by a Rohingya militant group.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi had been asking for her comment on both the Rohingya crisis and the imprisonment of the journalists earlier this month.
A UN rights body accused the country of Myanmar of “conducting a campaign against journalists”.
Aung San Suu Kyi broke her silence on Thursday while answering a question at an international economics conference in Vietnam. She said the case against the Reuters journalists was in accordance with the law.
She also mentioned that many of the critics had not actually read the verdict of that case.
“They were not sent to jail because they were journalists, they were jailed because [as per the court verdict] they had broken the Official Secrets Act.”
She further added that both journalists had the right to appeal the judgment.
The journalists belonging to the international news agency Reuters were sentenced to seven years in prison on 3 September for violating the state secrets act while investigating a massacre of Rohingya men by the military at a village called Inn Din in Rakhine state.
Both had been arrested while carrying official documents which they say they had been given by police in a restaurant.
According to the journalists, they were set up by police.