Suu Kyi defense of jailing of Reuters journalists 'unbelievable': Haley


Over 700,000 of the beleaguered minority have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since August a year ago after a Rohingya militant attack in Rakhine state triggered a scorched earth military campaign there.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum on ASEAN in Hanoi, she said "There are of course ways in which, with hindsight, the situation could've been handled better".

"But we believe that in order to have long-term security and stability we have to be fair to all sides".

In just under three years, Myanmar's 1991 Nobel Prize Laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi has gone from triumphant former political prisoner - feted around the globe as Southeast Asia's Nelson Mandela - to her country's de-facto leader (or is she?) and a spectacular disappointment to those same supporters.

A court in Myanmar jailed Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo for seven years last week for breaching the country's hardline Official Secrets Act while reporting on the Rohingya crisis.

"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".

There has been global condemnation of the jailing of two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 after they were found guilty of breaching a law on state secrets. The case has drawn worldwide attention as an example of how democratic reforms in long-isolated Myanmar have stalled under Aung San Suu Kyi's civilian government, which took power in 2016.

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The violence in Rakhine has eased but Myanmar now has to deal with its aftermath, especially the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Burmese leader, has defended the jailing of two journalists who investigated a massacre of Rohingya Muslims for the Reuters news agency.

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. "We can not go and fetch them from Bangladesh".

In her first public comments on the case since the verdict, she said she doubted that anyone had "actually bothered to read" the judgment and called on critics to "point out where they think there has been a miscarriage of justice". They also said Ms. Suu Kyi's government through "their acts and omissions...contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes".

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. The rule of law must apply to everyone.

Although Suu Kyi lacks command control over the armed forces, she has been criticized for not doing more to stop the carnage. "On all these counts, the trial of the Reuters journalists failed the test". Many Rohingya are fearful of returning to Myanmar if their safety and rights can not be guaranteed.