A former reporter who had been missing since September 1 is in detention at a Yangon police station and has been charged with violating Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement, according to her family.
Relatives of 35-year-old Thuzar were notified on Wednesday night that she was sent to the East Dagon police station on Wednesday after spending nearly one month in an interrogation centre, during which time her family was unable to contact her or confirm her whereabouts.
Ye Ko Ko, Thuzar’s husband, said that they had been preparing to file an official missing person’s report on Friday, the day that would have marked one month since her disappearance.
“They contacted us at around 8pm last night. They said she was at the police station and that we could not see her in person yet,” he told Myanmar Now on Thursday.
He added that a police officer came to the family home on Thursday morning, delivered a letter from Thuzar, and allowed them to send basic medicine and sanitary supplies to her.
“She wrote us a letter saying that she was in good health and that she was worried about her family. She also asked for her mother not to be worried about her,” Ye Ko Ko said.
Thuzar had a warrant out for her arrest for incitement since May, and escaped a military raid on her house during the same month. It is believed that she went into hiding in Yangon’s Kamayut Township.
Ye Ko Ko said that the last time he had contact with his wife was a phone call on the afternoon of September 1.
When it was apparent that she was missing, Thuzar’s family contacted interrogation centres, police stations and even the notorious Insein Prison in their search for her, but received no confirmation that she was in junta custody.
She has been remanded to the East Dagon police station, with a court hearing scheduled for October 13. If convicted, she faces up to three years in prison.
During the raid on Thuzar’s home in May, junta troops arrested Ye Ko Ko when they were unable to find her, holding him in an interrogation centre until he was released on bail four days later.
“We all felt like it was the end of the world when we couldn’t find her for 29 days. We were really relieved when we found out that she was alive and that she was being held at the police station. We are going to take every legal step possible to get her back,” her husband said.
Thuzar was a member of the Myanmar Press Council formed during the National League for Democracy government’s tenure, and had previously worked as a reporter for RFA, Modern Journal, The Irrawaddy, 7 Days News, and Friday Times News Journal.
Following the February 1 coup and until May, Thuzar worked as a freelance reporter at the Friday Times and Myanmar Pressphoto Agency.
The military council has arrested around 100 journalists since the coup. Although some have been released, more than 50 were still in detention at the time of reporting, according to a September 16 report by Detained Journalists Information Myanmar.
Source: Myanmar Now