Haley slams Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi for defending jailing of Reuters journalists

Haley slams Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi for defending jailing of Reuters journalists
© Keren Carrion

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki HaleyNimrata (Nikki) HaleyNikki Haley slams media for Smollett coverage: 'He played them all for fools' Four names emerge for UN position: report Heather Nauert withdraws her name from consideration for UN ambassador job MORE is hitting back at Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, calling it "unbelievable" that the Myanmar leader  defended the jailing of two Reuters journalists.

"First in denial about the abuse the Burmese military placed on the Rohingya, now justifying the imprisonment of the two Reuters reporters who reported on the ethnic cleansing," Haley tweeted in response to a post Suu Kyi. "Unbelievable." 

ADVERTISEMENT

Suu Kyi on Thursday drew shark rebukes from U.S. officials after she insisted the jailing of the two journalists did not violate freedom of speech.

"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

"I wonder whether very many people have actually read the summary of the judgment which had nothing to do with freedom of expression at all, it had to do with an Official Secrets Act,” she said.

The U.S. has come out in support of the journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were arrested under a colonial-era law while reporting on Myanmar's persecution of Rohingya Muslims.

Reuters has reported that the journalists were arrested as part of a sting operation by police in Myanmar.

"We continue to believe that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo did not violate Myanmar’s espionage law, and at no point in time were they engaged in activity to hurt their country," Reuters said in a statement following Suu Kyi's comments. 

Vice President Pence is so far the most senior U.S. official to throw his weight behind the journalists, who were convicted at the beginning of September for breaking the law by obtaining confidential documents about the military's actions.

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." 

Haley has previously denounced the Myanmar convictions, calling them "another terrible stain" on the country. 

Though U.S. lawmakers once broadly backed Suii Kyi, they have increasingly come out against the Nobel Prize winner over her inaction as Myanmar's military rulers have committed atrocities against the Rohingya, an ethnic minority group in Myanmar.

Rep.Ro KhannaRohit (Ro) KhannaVenezuela puts spotlight on Rubio Overnight Defense: House votes to end US support for Saudis in Yemen | Vote puts Trump in veto bind | Survey finds hazards in military housing | Senators offer new bill on Russia sanctions House passes bill to end US support for Saudi war in Yemen MORE (D-Calif.) has called for revoking Suu Kyi’s Congressional Gold Medal, Congress’s highest civilian honor.

“For Aung San Suu Kyi to not speak out and to talk about a proportionate response to terrorism is a total abdication of any morality,” Khanna said. “We should revoke the congressional medal, and beyond that she should be investigated as part of the U.N.’s [war crimes] tribunal.”

The United Nations recently determined the brutal violence against the Rohingya amounts to a genocide.