Australian editor appears in Burma court

YANGON, BURMA: Ross Dunkley, the Australian editor who was arrested in Burma early February, appeared on Thursday in court on immigration and possible criminal charges, The Phnom Penh Post reported.

"Mr Dunkley's detention in Yangon's Insein Prison was continued until March 3, when he is to appear in court again," David Armstrong, chairman of Post Media Ltd, said.

Dunkley, who is the publisher of The Phnom Penh Post and a shareholder in the weekly Myanmar Times, was arrested in Burma on February 10 under the country's immigration laws.

At the time, Armstrong linked the arrest to an ongoing struggle between Dunkley and the foreign ownership partners in the Myanmar Times over the paper's ownership. Yet reports of the reasons for his arrest are still unclear. CNN reported that officials revealed that Dunkley faces charges related to torturing and drugging a woman.

In his statement, Armstrong said that the woman who had made the allegations of physical assault against Dunkley said during cross examination that "some allegations she made during the hearing did not appear in the original police report of her complaint".

The woman then told the judge that she wanted to withdraw her complaint.

A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed that a 53-year-old Australian national assumed to be Dunkley faced criminal charges as well as charges under the country's Migration Act, but he didn't mention the specific nature of any of the charges.

Dunkley was arrested under Section 13 (1) of the immigration law after returning from a business trip to Tokyo. The section is frequently used by the Burmese regime to punish people who violated immigration laws.


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