Myanmar's Suu Kyi says jailed Reuters journalists can appeal verdict

Visitors flocked to Myanmar after western sanctions were lifted 2012

Visitors flocked to Myanmar after western sanctions were lifted 2012 Credit GEtty

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono has urged Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, to take concrete steps to repatriate displaced Rohingya Muslims.

Of the Myanmar businesspeople in attendance at this year's World Economic Forum, some applauded Aung San Suu Kyi's comments, while others said it was a missed opportunity to promote investment opportunities. "We believe that for the sake of long-term stability and security we have to be fair to all sides, that rule of law must apply to everybody", Suu Kyi said while interacting with the President of the World Economic, Forum Borge Brende.

She called on authorities in the country to "cease the legal and judicial harassment of journalists and to initiate a review of ill-defined laws that facilitate attacks on the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression". "We can not choose and pick", Suu Kyi said.

But she also appeared to turn responsibility onto neighbouring Bangladesh for failing to start the repatriation of the almost one million-strong Rohingya refugee community to Myanmar.

Even though the journalists were covering events unrelated to the armed conflict, they were charged under the so-called unlawful association act.

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The report cites last week's conviction of two Reuters journalists who reported on an army massacre of Rohingya as a particularly outrageous example of judicial harassment against the media in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, a onetime democracy icon, sparked worldwide ire for standing by the armed forces.

The ARNO said it has filed a communication in this matter supporting the efforts of Solicitor Taylor and supporting Australia's national prosecution of Aung San Suu Kyi with regards to violations of global criminal law, as consistent with the Australian Legal Code.

"The case has been held in open court", Aung San Suu Kyi said.

A court found the two Reuters reporters - Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 - guilty on Monday last week and jailed them for seven years in a landmark case seen as a test of progress towards democracy in the Southeast Asian country.

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"They weren't jailed because they are journalists, they were jailed because the court has decided they had broken the Official Secrets Act", she added after being asked by the moderator how she, as a democratic leader, felt about the jailing of journalists.

However, Aung San Suu Kyi said the reporters have the right to "appeal the judgment and to point out why the judgment was wrong".

Rohingya Muslims faced unthinkable atrocities at the hands of military troops, who engaged in state-sanctioned genocide - the United Nations recently said the mass killings and gang rapes of the minority were taken out with "genocidal intent".

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

"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.

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