Conflicts & War

Myanmar deports American journalist after three months in detention

Bangkok, June 15 (EFE).- Myanmar military rulers Tuesday deported American citizen Nathan Maung, the editor at a private news website, detained in March amid widespread protests against the Feb.1 coup by the army.

Maung, the editor-in-chief and co-founder of Kamayut Media, was set free on Monday after the authorities dropped charges against him.

The authorities escorted the editor to Yangon International Airport from where he took a flight for Washington, his lawyer Tin Zar Oo told Myanmar Now newspaper.

The lawyer said that the authorities did not allow his family members to see him off.

“We requested that his family members be allowed to send him off. But we were told to meet him at the police station [yesterday] only and that the authorities would accompany him to the airport,” Tin Zar Oo said.

Maung and Hanthar Nyein, the co-founder of the news website, were arrested on March 9.

The military authorities accused them of publishing and disseminating fake news that could agitate or cause security forces or officials to mutiny.

The charges carry a maximum three-year prison term.

Hanthar remains in prison with other journalists like American Danny Fenster, who was arrested on May 24 when he was about to take a plane at Yangon International Airport.

Fenster was the fourth foreign reporter detained by the military junta since the coup.

Other journalists previously arrested were Polish photographer Robert Bociaga and Japanese reporter Yuki Kitazumi. Both got deported to their respective countries.

The authorities have detained more than 80 journalists since the coup that ousted the democratically-elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

Over 40 journalists remain in prison, the data from the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners of Burma ( AAPP) showed.

The military junta has issued arrest warrants against 22 other reporters, including EFE contributor Mratt Kyaw Thu, who is in the process of seeking asylum in Spain after fleeing Myanmar.

The Southeast Asian country has been on the edge since the military seized power, triggering widespread pro-democracy protests.

The military has struggled to control the anti-coup resistance, four months after the men-in-uniform brought an abrupt end to the fledgling democracy in Myanmar.

Activists and civilian politicians accuse the army of using brutal force to quell pro-democracy protests across Myanmar.

The security forces have allegedly opened fire to kill peaceful protesters, demanding the restoration of democracy and the release of civilian politicians, including Suu Kyi.

More than 860 people have lost their lives in brutal repression by the security forces, data collected by the AAPP showed.

The monitoring group said the military detained nearly 5,000 people for taking part in peaceful pro-democracy protests.

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