The lawyer representing two journalists imprisoned in Myanmar for what critics say was merely doing their jobs on Friday urged the government of Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to immediately pardon them.
Human rights attorney Amal Clooney noted to an audience at the United Nations that Suu Kyi was a victim of wrongful imprisonment and said history will judge her on whether she grants the request for a pardon by the families of reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.
Clooney said: “This case is about much more than just two innocent men. I mean, if you care about press freedom, you care about this case because it sets a precedent...”
The Human Rights attorney added: ““You know, if you look at the speech that Aung San Suu Kyi made when she received the Nobel Peace Prize, she said, ‘I am here because I was once a political prisoner’. And her message was one political prison is one too many, and she asked people to help political prisoners wherever they may be. that’s exactly the message that we have to her now, is to say, you know, we have hope that you will do the right thing in this case because these, these are not ideas that are being imposed on you these are your own principles that you’ve espoused…”
The two journalists were sentenced to seven years in prison.
Clooney said the request for a pardon isn’t an admission of guilt and is calling for Myanmar’s government to admit that no crime was committed.
Joel Simon, Executive Director of Committee to Protect Journalists said: “The jailing of journalists is a brutal form of censorship that is having a profound impact on the flow of information around the world. The time has come to speak out and to name names.”
Critics say the Reuters reporters were imprisoned because the government wanted to prevent the news agency from publishing their story on the extrajudicial killings of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys.
About 700-thousand Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh amid a brutal military campaign in Myanmar.
Myanmar’s army is accused of mass rape, killings and setting fire to thousands of homes in the aftermath of an August 2017 attack by Rohingya militants on security outposts.