Aung San Suu Kyi defends jailing of journalists

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By Mark Armstrong
Aung San Suu Kyi defends jailing of journalists

Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi has defended the imprisonment of two journalists earlier this month. It's first time the country's State Counsellor, and de facto leader, has spoken publicly about the controversial case since the men were jailed.

Suu Kyi was interviewed at the World Economic Forum in front of an audience.

"They were not jailed because they were journalists," said Suu Kyi. "They were jailed because the court, well, sentence has been passed on them because the court has decided that they had broken the Official Secrets Act."

The two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, were sentenced to seven years for possession of police documents while they were investigating the killing of Rohingya Muslims.

Earlier this month the wife of one of the reporters collected a cash prize on the men's behalf. It was awarded to the pair by the U Win Tin foundation for political prisoners. The case is seen by some as a test of progress towards democracy in Myanmar.

The government of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has come under increasing diplomatic pressure over a security crackdown sparked by attacks by Rohingya Muslim insurgents on security forces in Rakhine State in western Myanmar in August 2017.