A former British ambassador to Burma has been sentenced to a year in prison by Burmese authorities, a diplomatic source told AFP on Friday (2 September).
Vicky Bowman, who was in office between 2002 and 2006, and her husband, former political prisoner Burmese artist Hetdeen Lin, were charged with violating immigration laws.
The former diplomat has been detained at Inchain Prison in Yangon since August 25, without specifying his residential address, which is different from the one registered with the authorities, according to a military junta press release. Her husband was prosecuted for helping his wife live in a house different from the declared one. They were sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Before becoming an ambassador, Vicky Bowman served as Second Secretary at the British Embassy in Burma between 1990 and 1993. In 2006, she married painter Hetdeen Lin, who was detained between 1998 and 2004 for her opposition to the military regime of the time. Since the February 1, 2021 coup that ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the ruling military has waged a bloody crackdown on its opponents, killing more than 2,100 civilians and arresting nearly 15,000, according to a local NGO.
Relations between Burma and the United Kingdom deteriorated after military rule. London announced new sanctions in late August against several companies and people linked to the military junta, on the fifth anniversary of the start of the army’s bloody abuses against the Rohingya.
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