Myanmar: Court releases one of two detained US journalists

A Myanmar court dismissed the case against US journalist, Nathan Maung, freeing him after he was detained in March. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) condemns the use of the Penal Code to detain journalists and urges the military junta to release Nyein and all others detained under this legislation.

A man sits in front of Insein prison in Yangon. Credit: STR / AFP

Maung, Kamayut Media’s editor-in-chief, and Hanthar Nyein, a news producer, were arrested on March 9 in the Kamayut Media office in Yangon under Article 505A of the Penal Code which prohibits causing fear, spreading misinformation, and inciting crimes against a government employee.

Maung was released from Insein Prison, known for holding Myanmar’s political prisoners by Myanmar’s court on June 14 after charges were dropped and his case was dismissed. Maung flew back to the US on June 15. According to CNN Business sources, the two were tortured for two weeks in an interrogation centre.

Lawyer, Tin Zar Oo, says that despite the charges being dropped for Maung’s case, she believes Nyein will face further charges.

Muang is one of two American journalists that has been arrested by the military since the beginning of the coup in February. American editor, Danny Fenster, was arrested on May 24. Authorities are yet to release any information on his where-abouts or wellbeing.

IFJ reporting has found that since the start of the military coup on February 1, 87 journalists have been arrested, 45 have been detained and 44 have been prosecuted.

The IFJ said: “The military junta in Myanmar has relentlessly targeted journalists in the region to stifle information through Article 505A of the Penal Code. The IFJ calls for the repeal of Article 505A and the release of Nyein and all other journalists who were arrested for carrying out their work as journalists.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram