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Myanmar sentences reporters to jail for flying drone

CORRECTS NATIONALITIES OF JOURNALISTS - Myanmar freelance journalist and interpreter Aung Naing Soe, center, is hugged by his mother as he arrives with driver Hla Tin, right, at a court in Naypyitaw, Myanmar Friday, Nov. 10, 2017. The interpreter and the driver with two foreign journalists accused of illegally flying a drone over parliament buildings in Myanmar appeared in court for the first time since their arrest last month. (AP Photo/Aung Shine Oo)
November 10, 2017 - 12:23 AM

YANGON, Myanmar - A court in Myanmar sentenced two foreign journalists to two months in prison on Friday for illegally flying a drone over parliament.

Lau Hon Meng, a Singaporean, and Mok Choy Lin, a Malaysian, were on assignment for Turkish Radio and Television when they were detained on Oct. 27 in the capital, Naypyitaw.

Their local interpreter, Aung Naing Soe, and their driver, Hla Tin, were also sentenced to two months in jail for the incident.

All four face separate charges for allegedly importing the drone. Another hearing is set for Nov. 16.

Authorities allege the journalists tried to fly a drone over parliament without permission. A lawyer for the interpreter and the driver said they should have been freed because they did not own or operate the drone.

A state-run newspaper had previously reported the journalists intended to take photos of parliament buildings and pagodas in Naypyitaw when security guards spotted them.

The detainees had not been allowed to see family members since their arrest last month. When they appeared for the hearing Friday, Aung Naing Soe, who is also a journalist, was able to hug his weeping mother.

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This story corrects nationalities of journalists and deletes reference to four men, since Mok Choy Lin is female.

News from © The Associated Press, 2017
The Associated Press

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