Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s beauty queen critical of military junta arrested in Thailand

Bangkok/Geneva, Sep 22 (EFE).- The Thai authorities have arrested Myanmar beauty queen Han Lay, who resides in Thailand and has been critical of the military junta, her representative told EFE Thursday.

The 2020 Miss Grand Myanmar was arrested on her arrival at Bangkok airport on Wednesday by immigration officials in response to an Interpol alert, according to her representative, who identified herself as Vanny.

She said she was in touch with Lay and had contacted international agencies to seek help but avoided giving further details.

Sunai Phasuk of the rights watchdog Human Rights Watch in Thailand tweeted that the 23-year-old model faces the risk of being deported to Myanmar to face harsh punishment.

In March 2021, Lay, also known as Thaw Nandar Aung, took part in the Miss Grand International 2020 beauty pageant representing Myanmar.

She used the opportunity to deliver an emotional two-minute message about the situation in her country.

On Feb.1 last year, the Myanmar military toppled an elected government led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

The coup plunged the country into a deep political, social and economic crisis.

A few months later, the beauty queen, in an interview with EFE, denounced the brutality of the military junta in its crackdown on the pro-democracy movement.

She underlined the prevalent rejection of the army rule among the people.

The military has detained several Myanmar celebrities for their explicit support of the pro-democracy dissenters, including actor and model Paing Takhon, who spent several months in prison.

The junta has issued arrest warrants against noted film directors and personalities.

Meanwhile, the United Nations denounced Thursday that the military junta has continued to massacre its own people, including political opponents and tens of thousands of members of the Muslim minority Rohingya community.

“The military continues to bomb civilian populations,” UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar Tom Andrews told the Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Andrews said the military had destroyed over 28,000 homes, burning entire villages.

“Just last Friday, (the) junta forces attacked a school in Sagaing region, killing at least 13, 11 of whom were children.”

He presented an update on the situation in Myanmar ahead of the UNHRC meeting in Geneva this month.

He said 130,000 Rohingyas are in internment camps, five years after the start of a massive crackdown on them in Rakhine State.

At least 84 political prisoners face imminent execution. Around July 23, the military junta executed a former parliamentarian and a well-known pro-democracy activist.

Moreover, an estimated 12,000 persons are in arbitrary detention. Many of them are victims of torture. There are almost 300 minors among the detainees.

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