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Myanmar photographers allowed to leave Bangladesh

October 17, 2017

Two Myanmar photographers who were detained while reporting on the Rohingya refugee crisis in Bangladesh were allowed to fly home on Tuesday, their lawyer said.

Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat were arrested in September in the border district of Cox’s Bazar, where more than 582,000 Rohingya Muslims have sought refuge from army-led violence scorching through Myanmar’s Rakhine state since August 25.

The pair were accused of espionage and charged with “false impersonation” for using tourist visas instead of journalist visas to enter Bangladesh, according to their lawyers.

The case was lambasted by rights groups and further strained ties between Myanmar and Bangladesh, which has struggled to absorb the staggering tide of weary Rohingya cramming into makeshift refugee camps on its side of the border.

The Myanmar journalists, who were on assignment for Hamburg-based magazine Geo, were released on bail on September 23 but unable to leave the country until Tuesday, according to their lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua.

“The boys finally managed to leave the country today,” he told AFP.

“They may have to come back to attend a court hearing in November,” he added.


Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.