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Aung San Suu Kyi defends decision to jail two journalists

14 September 2018

The verdict elicited worldwide outrage as an attack on media freedom.

She insisted the two individuals were not jailed for doing their job but for violation a colonial-era Official Secrets Act.

When asked to comment on Pence's call to release the journalists, the Myanmar leader responded by asking if the critics felt there had been a miscarriage of justice. "The rule of law must apply to everyone".

The forum, lasting September 11-13, has convened political and business leaders to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing countries belonging to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, or ASEAN.

Pence at the beginning of the month tweeted that "Wa Lone & Kyaw Soe Oo shd be commended-not imprisoned-for their work exposing human rights violations & mass killings".

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were forced to flee Rakhine into neighboring Bangladesh following a violent government crackdown in August previous year, precipitating one of Asia's worst refugee crisis.

"They were not jailed because they were journalists, they were jailed because. the court has decided that they have broken the Official Secrets Act", Suu Kyi said at a conference of the World Economic Forum in Hanoi, Reuters reported.

She added they could appeal their sentence.

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

"Our people have greater confidence in themselves", she said. "We have tried to do everything within the framework of the law".

"For the government, we have to be fair to all of them, even if the rest of the world is not interested", Aung San Suu Kyi said on Thursday.

She said observers saw this trial as a test for Myanmar democracy and that "it is pretty clear that the test has failed".

Suu Kyi's speech would seem to indicate the worldwide condemnation on both cases has finally gotten through to former Nobel Peace Prize victor.

She still defended Myanmar security forces, saying that all groups in western Rakhine state had to be protected. "It's very simple, if business is successful, everybody is prosperous, then there is no more fighting and no more conflict".

Ms Suu Kyi has been heavily criticised for failing to speak out about the crisis which has seen almost a million minority Muslims fleeing Myanmar into Bangladesh.

She called for investment into education and agriculture, saying on Thursday she hoped Myanmar could eventually become an agri-based industrialised economy.

Rep.Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaCongress losing faith in Nobel Prize victor Aung San Suu Kyi Sanders finds prime target in Amazon Purpose of Stop BEZOS Act is not to demonize Amazon, says Dem rep MORE (D-Calif.) has called for revoking Suu Kyi's Congressional Gold Medal, Congress's highest civilian honor. "We can't conveniently blame one side or the other".

"It is wet and uncomfortable here", Noor Farooq, a former shopkeeper in Rakhine, said on Thursday, as monsoon rains threated to wash away more refugee shelters built on recently denuded hills in eastern Bangladesh.

In the camps in Bangladesh, which constitute the world's largest single refugee settlement, some Rohingya have expressed reluctance to return to the site of so much slaughter by the Myanmar military and Buddhist mobs.

Aung San Suu Kyi defends decision to jail two journalists