Conflicts & War

Myanmar’s beauty queen held at Bangkok airport gets asylum in Canada

Bangkok, Sep 27 (EFE).- Myanmar’s beauty queen Han Lay, who has been critical of the military junta and has been detained in Bangkok airport since last week, was granted asylum by Canada, sources privy to the case confirmed Tuesday.

Sunai Phasuk of the rights watchdog Human Rights Watch in Thailand confirmed to EFE in a message that Lay had obtained asylum in Canada and would leave Tuesday night.

On Sep.22, the 2020 Miss Grand Myanmar was arrested on her arrival at Bangkok airport by immigration officials due to problems with her passport, supposedly canceled by the junta in Myanmar.

The 23-year-old model, also known as Thaw Nandar Aung, was sent to the immigration detention center at the airport, from where she contacted the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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

Lay had been residing in the Thai capital since the coup.

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.

More than 2,300 people have died as a result of brutal repression in Myanmar by police and soldiers, who have even shot to kill peaceful and unarmed demonstrators, according to the nonprofit Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.


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