Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney on Friday urged Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi to pardon two journalists imprisoned in the country for more than 290 days, Reuters reported.
Clooney is a member of the legal team representing Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were convicted earlier this month for breaching the country’s Official Secrets Act, 1923, and sentenced to seven years in prison. She was speaking at a press freedom event at the United Nations.
Clooney said the reporters were arrested in an attempt to keep the news agency from publishing a story on the extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya men and boys. She said Suu Kyi had once “allowed young people to hope for a free Myanmar that respected the rule of law”, The Guardian reported.
“She [Suu Kyi] knows that mass murder is not a state secret and that exposing it doesn’t turn a journalist into a spy,” Clooney said. “She has said that one political prisoner is one too many, and so we’re hopeful that since these are the principles that she herself has espoused, she will step in and try to correct an injustice in this case.”
“You [Suu Kyi] fought for so many years to be freed from the same prison where they now sit and now you have the power to actually remedy this injustice today if you wanted to,” Clooney said, adding that “history will judge” Suu Kyi on her response.
Suu Kyi, however, has rejected criticism saying the case has nothing to do with freedom of expression. She said the reporters were sentenced for handling official secrets and “were not jailed because they were journalists” at a forum in Vietnam.
Last week, United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres urged the Myanmar government to pardon and release the imprisoned journalists.