BBC journalist released after being kept awake for three nights and interrogated about links to CDM

A BBC Burmese correspondent who was detained last week in Naypyitaw was released on Monday morning after being deprived of sleep for three nights and interrogated, his wife has told Myanmar Now.

Aung Thura was snatched by unidentified men, believed to be police or soldiers in civilian clothes, from outside the Dekkhina District court in Naypyitaw on Friday. 

He was there to report on a hearing for detained National League for Democracy patron Win Htein. A former Mizzima journalist named Than Htike Aung was detained at the same time and has not been released.

Aung Thura’s wife, Aye Phyu, said her husband was only released after he signed a “pledge” but did not give details about what was written on it. 

“I didn’t find any injuries on him, but he was traumatized badly,” she said. “He was exhausted mentally and physically. He’ll need a medical check-up after he’s rested.”

He was asked if he was in contact with any supporters of the Civil Disobedience Movement or members of the Committee Representing Pyidaungsu Hluttaw, which was formed by elected lawmakers who were unable to take their seats on February 1 because of the coup.  

“It was very bad… he had information that he didn’t delete on Viber,” Aye Phyu said “He also told me not to post randomly on Facebook.”

Aung Thura said the authorities had gained access to files on Than Htike Aung’s devices too, she added. 

As of Sunday a total of 43 journalists had been arrested or targeted for arrest since the coup, according to Detained Journalists Information Myanmar, a Facebook group run by journalists and writers.

Of those, 24 have been released. Ten, including Myanmar Now’s reporter Kay Zon Nway, have been charged under section 505a of the Penal Code, which punishes causing fear, spreading fake news, or agitating against government employees with up to three years in prison. 

The junta has also brought a case against The Irrawaddy news website under the same law for showing “disregard” for the armed forces in its reporting of anti-regime protests.

Five publications, including Myanmar Now and Mizzima, had their offices raided and their publishing licenses revoked earlier this month by the regime.


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