Amal Clooney calls on Myanmar’s Suu Kyi to pardon Reuters reporters
By Michelle Nichols UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The families of two Reuters reporters imprisoned in Myanmar have asked for a pardon from the country's president, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told a press freedom event at the United Nations on Friday as she pressed Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to agree to the request. 'The president can grant a pardon anytime after a conviction. He does so following a consultation with Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi,' said Clooney, who is a member of the legal team representing Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28
By Michelle Nichols
UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) - The families of two Reuters reporters imprisoned in Myanmar have asked for a pardon from the country's president, human rights lawyer Amal Clooney told a press freedom event at the United Nations on Friday as she pressed Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi to agree to the request.
"The president can grant a pardon anytime after a conviction. He does so following a consultation with Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi," said Clooney, who is a member of the legal team representing Reuters journalists Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28.
"The journalists' families have already submitted a pardon request," Clooney said. "This case began with authorization from the government at the highest level, all the way up to the president's office. And the government can, if it wants to, end it today."
The Myanmar mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The reporters were convicted on Sept. 3 under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act in a case seen as a test of democratic freedoms in Myanmar. The reporters, who pleaded not guilty and have been detained since December last year, were sentenced to seven years in prison.
They had been working on a Reuters investigation into the killing of 10 Rohingya Muslim men and boys by security forces and local Buddhists in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state during an army crackdown that began in August last year. The operation sent nearly 700,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh.
A U.N mandated fact-finding mission said Myanmar's military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with "genocidal intent" and called for top generals to be prosecuted. Myanmar rejected the findings.
Suu Kyi said at a forum in Vietnam this month that the case had nothing to do with freedom of expression. She said the reporters had been sentenced for handling official secrets and "were not jailed because they were journalists."
"Aung San Suu Kyi knows better than anyone what it is like to be a political prisoner in Myanmar. She has slept in a cell at the prison in which Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo now sleep," said Clooney, who was speaking for the first time about the case.
Clooney said Suu Kyi held "the key to their liberty" and "the key to a more democratic and prosperous Myanmar. History will judge her response."
The U.N. event hosted by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) also focused on the cases of imprisoned journalists in Egypt, Kyrgyzstan and Bangladesh.
The CPJ said a record 262 journalists were jailed worldwide in 2017, with Turkey, China, and Egypt responsible for imprisoning 134 of those journalists.
U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres earlier this month called on the Myanmar government to pardon and release the Reuters journalists as soon as possible.
Representatives for the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Lebanon and other countries attended the event on the sidelines of the annual U.N. General Assembly.
(Reporting by Michelle Nichols; editing by Grant McCool)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police used teargas and water cannon to disperse people who had gathered in central Athens on Saturday to protest against mandatory COVID-19 vaccinations. More than 4,000 people rallied outside the Greek parliament for a third time this month to oppose mandatory inoculations for some workers, such as healthcare and nursing staff.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Two Turkish soldiers were killed and two were wounded in an attack on their armoured vehicle in northern Syria, and Turkish forces immediately launched retaliatory fire, Turkey's defence ministry said on Saturday. "Our punitive fire against terrorist positions is continuing," the statement on Twitter on said. It did not specify where the attack occurred, but media reports said it was in the al-Bab area.
By Marcelo Rochabrun SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Protesters took to the streets in several Brazilian cities on Saturday to demand the impeachment of far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, whose popularity has fallen in recent weeks amid corruption scandals against the backdrop of the pandemic. This week, news broke that Brazil's defense ministry told congressional leadership that next year's elections would not take place without amending the country's electronic voting system to include a paper trail of each vote. Bolsonaro has suggested several times without evidence that the current system is prone to fraud, allegations that Brazil's government has denied