Journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu arrives in Madrid after escaping Myanmar

Madrid, Jun 1 (EFE).- Burmese journalist Mratt Kyaw Thu arrived in the Spanish capital Madrid on Tuesday, where he is set to seek asylum after managing to escape Myanmar.

Myanmar’s military junta had issued a warrant for his arrest over his coverage of protests against the coup on February 1.

Mratt, who has worked as a contributor for EFE in Myanmar since October 2018, traveled to Madrid from Frankfurt, Germany, where he had spent weeks in refugee accommodation following a 10-day quarantine.

He had initially been scheduled to fly to Madrid with a layover in Frankfurt, but decided to try for asylum in Germany given his contacts there.

German authorities denied him asylum, deferring the case to Spain as per European Union migration protocol.

Upon his arrival in Madrid, Mratt said his quarantine in Frankfurt was like being in “a prison” but that he was now relieved to be able to speak to his family, friends and readers.

He added that his objective was to apply for asylum in Spain and continue working, given that he cannot return to Myanmar.

Mratt was able to travel to Europe thanks to a Schengen visa obtained with the help of EFE via a Spanish embassy in a country neighboring Myanmar.

More than 80 journalists have been arrested in Myanmar since the coup that overthrew the democratic government of Aung San Suu Kyi, according to the local Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.

On April 5, Mratt’s photo appeared in official media outlets among a list of journalists wanted for violating a decree approved after the coup, which criminalizes “causing fear,” “spreading fake news” and directly or indirectly inciting a “criminal offense” against a public servant.

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