YANGON, Myanmar – Authorities on Wednesday released a prominent Myanmar reporter for the Japanese newspaper Tokyo Shimbun after six days in detention, but there were reports that other journalists remained missing after a government crackdown on protests.
Min Zaw had been taken from his home Friday by plainclothes security personnel who said he would be held temporarily for questioning.
Aye Aye Win said her husband was brought home in a pickup truck by a junta official. "The official said, 'We are sending him back,"' said Win, the Yangon correspondent of The Associated Press.
She said Min Zaw, 56, was questioned in connection with the visit last month of Tokyo Shimbun's Thailand bureau chief, Koji Hirata, to Yangon to cover pro-democracy demonstrations.
"He is really perplexed why he was held so long," said Aye Aye Win.
Hirata told AP that he went to Yangon on Sept. 24 on a tourist visa. He said an official came to his hotel room on Sept. 26 and told him he had to leave the country immediately, which he did the same night.
Around that time, the junta had stepped up its crackdown on protesters and virtually crushed the demonstrations on Sept. 27 after opening fire on the crowds.
Aye Aye Win said her husband, who suffers from diabetes, is in poor health. Soon after he was brought back home, the family took him to hospital where doctors said he would need surgery for a diabetic ulcer.
The surgery cannot be performed immediately because his blood sugar level is too high, and doctors will determine later when to operate, said Aye Aye Win.
Reporters Without Borders, a media watchdog, has said that several other correspondents of foreign news media, including those of Reuters and Agence France-Presse, were physically attacked or prevented from working in the past month.
A Japanese video journalist, Kenji Nagai, was killed in Yangon at the height of the demonstrations on Sept. 27. His body was flown out of the country Wednesday.
The Thailand-based news Web site The Irrawaddy reported three Burmese journalists — Kyaw Zeya Tun, 23, of The Voice newspaper, Nay Lin Aung, 20, of the weekly 7 Day News, and an unidentified female journalist employed by Weekly Eleven News — have been missing for several days. It is believed they were arrested when the military dispersed demonstrations, the media group said.