Two journalists working for TRT World, their local fixer and driver have been released from a Myanmar prison two months after their arrest for flying a drone over parliament.
Two foreign journalists and their local stringer and driver have been released from a Myanmar prison on Friday, two months after their arrest for flying a drone over the parliament.
Singaporean Lau Hon Meng and Malaysian Mok Choy Lin were working for TRT World when they were arrested on October 27 in Myanmar's capital, Naypitaw.
A court on Thursday dropped additional charges against them, their local fixer and freelance photographer Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin. They had been scheduled for release on January 5 after serving a two-month prison sentence for illegally flying a drone but were freed early.
TRT World's Kerry Alexandra reports.
Their lawyer Khin Maung Zaw said on Thursday that authorities dropped more the serious charges of importing a drone without permission and immigration violations against the foreigners after concluding they did not intend to endanger national security.
Authorities also wanted to maintain good diplomatic relations with the countries of the two journalists, he said.
TRT World's Asia correspondent Shamim Chowdhury discusses the arrest and release.
Detention of Reuters journalists
In a separate case on Wednesday, a court extended the detention of two Reuters journalists and set their trial for January 10 on charges of violating state secrets.
Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were arrested December 12 for acquiring "important secret papers" from two policemen.
The police officers had worked in Rakhine state, where abuses widely blamed on the military have driven more than 630,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.
The charges are punishable by up to 14 years in prison.
Rights and media groups have criticised the new civilian government led by the Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi for continuing to use colonial-era laws to threaten and imprison journalists.
Such laws were widely used by a military junta that had ruled Myanmar to muzzle critics and the media.