Vicky Bowman: UK ex-envoy to Myanmar handed one-year jail term


The UK’s former ambassador to Myanmar and her husband have each been sentenced to one year in prison by Myanmar’s military authorities, the BBC has confirmed.

Vicky Bowman and her husband Htein Lin, a former political prisoner, were charged with violating immigration laws.

The couple were arrested last week in their home in Yangon.

Ms Bowman served as ambassador in Myanmar from 2002-2006.

An earlier statement from the military said Ms Bowman had broken the law by staying at an address in a town other than Yangon – where she was registered – and failing to notify the authorities. Her husband had been arrested because he had facilitated the move.

Ms Bowman currently runs the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, based in Yangon.

Her husband Htein Lin is an artist and former political prisoner who was a member of the All Burma Student’s Democratic Front, an armed resistance group which was formed after the popular student-led uprisings against the junta in 1988.

The couple got married and moved to London before returning to Yangon in 2013.

The pair’s arrest came as the UK recently announced sanctions against the military authorities in Myanmar – coinciding with the fifth anniversary of its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in the country. During the first few months of the onslaught, more than 6,000 people died, and hundreds of thousands were displaced.

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Earlier on Friday, a military-run court in Myanmar also sentenced former leader Aung San Suu Kyi to a further three years in jail on election fraud charges.

Myanmar’s military regime has been accused of widespread violations of human rights.

Early this month, generals extended their emergency rule until 2023 as the country remains riven by internal fighting.

The junta seized power last year after overthrowing Aung Sung Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government.

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