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Tue, Nov 14, 2017

Journalists Jailed In Myanmar For Using Drones

Face Two-Month Sentences For Violating Aviation Rules

Two journalists working for Turkish State media have been jailed in Myanmar for using a drone for filming, according to local media reports.

The two journalists, Cameraman Lau Hon Meng from Singapore and reporter Mok Choy Lin from Malaysia, along with their interpreter Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin were sentenced to two months in prison for violating a local aviation law, according to a report from Channel News Asia.

The four were detained on October 27 while working on a documentary for TRT world, an English-language division of the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation. They were charged with flying a drone near parliament in the capital, Naypyidaw.

Initially, police investigated whether the four had violated an import-export rule, which could have landed them in prison for three years. The judge decided to charge them with violating the 1934 Burma Aircraft Act, which has a maximum sentence of three months. Both the reporter and cameraman pleaded guilty to the lesser charge, expecting to be fined and released. But instead, they were sentenced to jail.

Mok reportedly told the court that they were sorry for any disrespect for Myanmar's laws, but felt that the judicial process had lacked transparency.

Their attorney said he would be appealing the decision to see if the penalty could be reduced to a fine. However, there is a new hearing scheduled on November 16 to determine if there was a violation of the import-export rule.

(Image from file)

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