Freelance Photographer Released After Three-Day Detention

By Zarni Mann 2 March 2015

Detained freelance photographer Aung Nay Myo from Monywa in Sagaing Division was released on Monday, after three days of questioning.

“I was released after questioning by the local authorities, with no conditions. There were no warnings [issued] and no assurances I had to give,” said Aung Nay Myo, who had only just arrived home.

According to the photographer, the authorities questioned him over online materials shared on his personal Facebook account.

“I don’t want to give detailed comments on the matter since I don’t want to stir up problems,” Aung Nay Myo told The Irrawaddy. “I just want to say thank you to those who supported me [and called] for my release.”

Aung Nay Myo was detained on Friday for posting a satirical photo on his Facebook page that mocked officials.

The image was a photoshopped version of an advertisement for an action movie called “Kun Lon 40 days,” depicting a battle in Kun Lon near Laukkai in northern Shan State between forces from the Communist Party of Burma and the Burma Army from November 1971.

The image featured the faces of notable officials, including Burma Army Commander-in-Chief Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Parliamentary Speaker Shwe Mann, photoshopped onto the bodies of men in military gear. The film’s title had been changed to read “Condom 40 Days.”

A complaint letter sent by a Special Branch officer to the Monywa Police Station on Friday accused Aung Nay Myo of “harming, deterring and disturbing” the functions of government and requested that action be taken against him under the 1950 Emergency Provisions Act.

Before Aung Nay Myo’s release, on Sunday, journalists from the upper Burma region issued an open letter sent to President Thein Sein and also to parliament, the ministry of information and some foreign embassies, condemning the arrest as “threatening freedom of speech” and calling for the immediate release of the photographer.

The letter called Aung Nay Myo’s detention an injustice and said it would frighten other social network users.