Burmese military council continues ‘hostage diplomacy’

While former Burmese leader Aung San Suu Kyi was sentenced on Friday, September 2, to an additional three years in prison by a court under the orders of the military junta, the generals of Myanmar (Burma’s official name) did so on the same day. They showed that they have nothing to envy their Russian and Chinese allies in terms of “Hostage Diplomacy” By: Vicki Bowman, 56, a former British ambassador to Burma who was posted to Yangon between 2002 and 2006, was sentenced to one year in prison for not declaring her new address in the country. According to the official press, she will be guilty of “violating the laws” governing the status of foreign residents …

After leaving Burma at the end of his previous assignments, MI Bowman returned to live there a decade ago with her husband, Burmese contemporary artist Hattin Lin, 55, who received the same sentence and was imprisoned by the former junta, between 1998 and 2004. Both are imprisoned in the disastrous Insein Prison, located on the outskirts of Rangoon, It is a prison built by the former British colonizer in the nineteenth centurye century. The former diplomat, who was fluent in Burmese and was based in Yangon in the early 1990s, was arrested on Wednesday, Aug. 24, and was director of a business advisory organization, Myanmar Center for Responsible Business.

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The arrest of the former ambassador – an unprecedented decision taken by the dictatorship, although Vicky Bowman no longer enjoys diplomatic status – came right after London decided to impose new sanctions on the regime of General Min Aung Hlaing, the author of a coup 1Verse February 2021. The UK targeted a construction company run by the son of dictator Aung Pyae Son.

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Htin Lin stands in his studio in Yangon, Myanmar, November 12, 2015.

Thus, the “revenge” of the regime against a British citizen was not far off. Especially since Anglo-Burmese relations are at an all-time low: the British ambassador in Yangon, who arrived in the country a year earlier, was forced to leave Burma in July after refusing to present his credentials to the new regime. Britain has also just announced that it will support the work of the International Court of Justice, which accuses the Burmese army of committing genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, hundreds of thousands of whose members fled after the military’s atrocities against them in 2016 and 2017.

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