Two journalists charged with espionage
BANGLADESH: Two Myanmar photographers covering the Rohingya crisis for a German magazine have been arrested in Bangladesh on suspicion of espionage, officials said on Friday.
Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat were detained more than a week ago in the border town of Cox’s Bazar, where about 389,000 Rohingya Muslims have sought refuge since Aug. 25. The pair’s lawyer said they were charged with “false impersonation” and providing “false information” after police accused them of using the cover of tourist visas to enter the country, instead of journalist visas. Police chief Ranjit Kumar Barua said they were also “primarily accused of espionage.”
“They were collecting information on the Rohingya for Myanmar,” he claimed.
Scores of foreign journalists have poured into Bangladesh to cover the Rohingya exodus. Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat arrived in Cox’s Bazar in early September on assignment for Hamburg-based magazine Geo to cover the refugee crisis, which has strained relations between Muslim-majority Bangladesh and Myanmar.
Their arrest was announced on Wednesday and a court on Thursday rejected a bail plea, their Bangladeshi lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua told AFP. He said Minzayar Oo was “an award winning photographer whose work was published in reputed dailies and magazines including the New York Times, Guardian and National Geographic.” — AFP