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Embassy silent on deportation of American teacher from Burma


New Delhi (Mizzima) – The US Embassy in Rangoon on Friday remained tight lipped and refused to provide information on the alleged deportation of an American teacher last weekend by Burmese authorities.

The Thailand-based Burmese online magazine, The Irrawaddy, on Thursday reported that Christina Peterson, an English teacher at the American Centre in Burma’s second largest city Mandalay was briefly detained and was deported to Bangkok.

Peterson was returning from Mandalay to Rangoon, Burma’s former capital, when authorities picked her up at a highway bus station. She was taken directly to the international airport, without being allowed to go back to her room and was sent to Bangkok on Saturday, the report said.

But Drake Weisert, Assistant Public Affairs Officer at the US Embassy in Rangoon, refused to either confirm or deny the report, citing embassy protocol of not disclosing personal information.

“Actually, I cannot comment because of the Privacy Act,” Weisert told Mizzima on Friday.  

Similarly, the American Centre in Rangoon and the US Embassy in Bangkok on Friday refused to speak about the repatriation of the US teacher.

While the information is yet to be independently verified, the Irrawaddy reported Peterson was arrested on her way back to Rangoon after giving lectures on environmental issues in Mandalay.

According to the report, the environmental training in Mandalay was also attended by members of detained Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s party the National League for Democracy (NLD).

Weisert said, while he could not divulge any information on the issue, he explicitly denied having made comments to any media group.

In May, the Burmese military regime expelled two American journalists - Jerry Redfern and his wife Karen Coates - who were teaching feature writing and photography to students in Mandalay.

The two in their statement, issued later, said they were unaware of the possible reason for their deportation and rubbished rumours of them being agents of the American Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Edited by Mungpi

Last Updated ( Monday, 07 December 2009 12:00 )  

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