Rights lawyer at­tacks Trump over press safety

‘‘The US pres­i­dent has given such regimes a green light and la­belled the press in this coun­try the en­emy of the peo­ple.’’

Waikato Times - - World -

Amal Clooney has ac­cused Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump of aid­ing au­to­cratic regimes that jail or kill jour­nal­ists.

Clooney, a hu­man rights lawyer who has rep­re­sented jour­nal­ists de­tained in Burma, Egypt and Azer­bai­jan, drew a link be­tween the pres­i­dent’s rhetoric and the mur­der of Ja­mal Khashoggi, the Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ist.

‘‘The US pres­i­dent has given such regimes a green light and la­belled the press in this coun­try the en­emy of the peo­ple,’’ she said at the United Nations Cor­re­spon­dents As­so­ci­a­tion an­nual awards cer­e­mony in New York.

‘‘And of course two months ago a Wash­ing­ton Post jour­nal­ist, Ja­mal Khashoggi, walked into a con­sulate in Is­tan­bul and was bru­tally tor­tured to death.’’

Two of her re­cent clients are the Reuters re­porters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, who were con­victed and jailed for seven years while at­tempt­ing to re­port on the killing of Amal Clooney

the Ro­hingya by gov­ern­ment forces in Myan­mar.

At their trial, a po­lice of­fi­cer who was sup­posed to be giv­ing ev­i­dence against them in­stead told the court of an at­tempt to frame the re­porters by hav­ing an of­fi­cer hand them sen­si­tive doc­u­ments. The wit­ness was then pros­e­cuted and jailed, she said.

‘‘In lock­ing up these two jour­nal­ists and a whistle­blower, the au­thor­i­ties are of course sig­nalling to oth­ers what can hap­pen if you dare to tell the truth . . . Ex­am­ples abound in au­to­cratic regimes from North Korea, to Philip­pines to Hun­gary, Turkey and Brazil.’’

Clooney was ac­cept­ing an award for global cit­i­zen of the year from the as­so­ci­a­tion, which was cel­e­brat­ing its 70th an­niver­sary. She said she usu­ally sought to avoid re­porters ‘‘in my per­sonal life’’ – al­though her mother was a jour­nal­ist, as was her fa­ther-in-law, ‘‘and my hus­band played one on TV’’.

Ge­orge Clooney, who was in the au­di­ence, ap­peared to be­come tear­ful as she paid trib­ute to her fatherin-law, Nick Clooney, ‘‘a vet­eran jour­nal­ist who has spent his ca­reer chal­leng­ing au­thor­ity and or­tho­doxy’’.

‘‘He has in turn raised a son who I am very happy to be mar­ried to and who has spent his life­time do­ing the same.’’ – The Times

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