YANGON (AFP) - Myanmar’s junta jailed a former British ambassador to the country and her husband for a year on Friday (Aug 2) for breaching immigration rules, a diplomatic source told AFP.
Vicky Bowman and her husband, prominent Burmese artist Htein Lin, were sentenced to a year each, a source with knowledge of the case said.
Bowman, who served as envoy from 2002 to 2006, was detained last month for failing to declare she was living at an address different from the one listed on her foreigner’s registration certificate.
Htein Lin was arrested for helping his wife reside at an address different to their registered home in commercial hub Yangon.
The couple could have been jailed for up to five years.
AFP has contacted the British Foreign Ministry for comment. A junta spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
Prior to serving as ambassador, Bowman was the second secretary at the British embassy from 1990 to 1993.
She now works as director at the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, and is a fluent Burmese speaker.
Htein Lin was arrested in 1998 and imprisoned for opposing the rule of a previous junta.
Ties between Myanmar and former colonial ruler Britain have soured since a coup last year, with London imposing several rounds of sanctions on businesses and individuals with ties to the military.
The junta earlier this year criticised Britain’s recent downgrading of its mission in the country as “unacceptable”.
The British government has sanctioned several military-linked companies and individuals following the army’s power grab last year, which triggered mass uprisings and a bloody crackdown on dissent.
Bowman and her husband were arrested the day before London announced new sanctions on companies it said had helped raise funds for the military during its 2017 crackdown on the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.
Scores of foreign nationals have been caught up in the junta’s crackdown following its power grab.
Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota is currently being held in Insein prison, after he was detained last month near an anti-government rally in Yangon.
He was the fifth foreign journalist to be detained in Myanmar, after US citizens Nathan Maung and Danny Fenster, Robert Bociaga of Poland and Yuki Kitazumi of Japan, all of whom were later freed and deported.