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.’’
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