American Reporter Released From Myanmar Prison

Nathan Maung’s lawyer Tin Zar Oo announced recently that the police chief withdrew the charges against her client. He was initially accused of spreading misinformation.As for why the charges were dropped, Tin Zar Oo said, “the main reason is that the US Embassy was calling for the rights of their citizen and we prepared all the documents for him. I think Nathan Maung was released because both the embassy and the lawyers communicated with each other well.”Nathan Maung and Hanthar Nyein were charged with crimes under section 505a of Myanmar’s penal code — a law amended by the military making it illegal to publish or circulate comments that spread misinformation or incite government officials.Nathan Maung’s charges were dropped, but Hanthar Nyein remains in prison on charges of spreading misinformation. Tin Zar Oo said she believes he will face further charges, but this has yet to be confirmed.Nathan Maung was happy to be freed, but Hanthar Nyein remains behind bars, according to Tin Zar Oo.”I saw him with a sad face,” she said. “He told us he would do everything in his power to free Hanthar.”He was taking a Covid test on Monday, and his family who live in Myanmar allowed him to meet them, she said. He was to leave the country at 7:40 a.m. local time on a ticket arranged by the US Embassy, she said.State Department officials said they are following the case very closely, but did not have any new information to share at this time.Since the military took over on February 1, 2021, more than 860 people have been killed by junta-led security forces and at least 6,046 have been arrested for all sorts of crimes, including protesters, activists, journalists, celebrities, and government officials.The junta also suppressed information by suspending the licenses of independent media houses, raiding media offices, and issuing arrest warrants for journalists.As a result of the conflict, many media workers have fled abroad or fled to rebel-controlled jungles. To avoid arrest, those who remain in the cities have gone into hiding and switch safe houses every few days.Reporting ASEAN documented that 87 journalists have been arrested, with 51 still in detention.On the same day that Nathan Maung was released, the trial of ousted civil leader Aung San Suu Kyi began. As part of the first criminal proceedings against Suu Kyi, a court in the capital heard three charges, including that she violated a communications law by using walkie-talkie radios and had violated coronavirus restrictions during her election campaign last year.Additionally, the court heard a case against deposed president U Win Myint for alleged violations of disaster management laws.On two other counts, Suu Kyi’s trial will soon resume, while the most serious charges against her, namely corruption and violations of the State Secrets Act, have not yet been assigned a trial date.The court proceedings have been called a “show trial” and a “political spectacle intended to discredit Aung San Suu Kyi and the democratic opposition.”

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