Burmese junta to release former UK ambassador, Australian economist, and Japanese journalist

Vicky Bowman, photo by Nation Thailand.

The Burmese junta is set to release a former UK ambassador, an Australian economist, and a Japanese journalist who have been detained in Myanmar.

The three are being released under amnesty which includes over 6,000 other prisoners.

Former UK ambassador Vicky Bowman was arrested with her husband on August 24, and the two were sentenced to a year in prison. Reuters reported that Bowman’s husband, artist Htein Lin, would also be released in the amnesty.

Bowman is the director of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business. She served as the UK’s ambassador to Myanmar from 2002-2006.

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Htein Lin is a Burmese artist and former political prisoner. He was imprisoned for leading student protests against the old military junta in 1998 and released in 2004.

Australian economist Sean Turnell served as an advisor to former Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi. He was detained shortly after the coup in February 2021. Turnell had been sentenced to three years in prison for violating the country’s Official State Secrets Act.

Japanese documentary filmmaker 26 year old Toru Kubota was arrested at a protest in the South Dagon Township in the southeastern area of Yangon on July 30. The report said he was arrested while gathering information for his documentary. The Burmese junta had sentenced him for sedition violating a law on electronic communications.

The Japanese Embassy in Myanmar said today that it had been notified by authorities that Kubota would be released later in the day, CNN reported.

Ever since Myanmar’s junta government came to power through the coup in 2021, human rights leaders across the globe have criticised it, accusing it of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In Thailand, Amnesty International yesterday called on the Thai government to help stop the violence in Myanmar. The organisation marched to the UN building on Ratchadamnoen Nok Road to submit a letter urging the Thai government to help, as Thailand is the host of the 29th APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting.

Amnesty’s Thailand director said that almost two years after the military coup of February 2021, more than 1.4 million people in Myanmar have been displaced. The director noted that 7.8 million children have left school, and 12,839 were detained in inhumane conditions. At least 73 people were on death row, the director said.

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Tara Abhasakun

A Thai-American dual citizen, Tara has reported news and spoken on a number of human rights and cultural news issues in Thailand. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in history from The College of Wooster. She interned at Southeast Asia Globe, and has written for a number of outlets. Tara reports on a range of Thailand news issues.

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