BANGKOK — Myanmar’s state media reported the country’s military-controlled government was releasing and deporting an Australian academic, a Japanese filmmaker and an ex-British diplomat as part of a prisoner amnesty to mark the country’s National Victory Day.
Government spokesperson Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun told the Voice of Myanmar and Yangon Media Group on Thursday that Sean Turnell, Toru Kubota and Vicky Bowman, as well as an unidentified American, were being released and deported.
Myanmar’s state-run MRTV later confirmed the reports, but there was no immediate independent confirmation they had been released.
Turnell, 58, an associate professor in economics at Sydney’s Macquarie University, was arrested by security forces at a hotel in Yangon. He was sentenced in September to three years in prison for violating the country’s official secrets law and immigration law.
Kubota, a 26-year-old Tokyo-based documentary filmmaker, was arrested on July 30 by plainclothes police in Yangon after taking images and videos of a small flash protest against the military takeover last year. He was convicted last month by the prison court of incitement for participating in the protest and other charges and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Bowman, 56, a former British ambassador to Myanmar, was arrested with her husband, a Myanmar national, in Yangon in August. She was given a one-year prison term in September for failing to register her residence.