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Journalist Ross Dunkley released from Insein Prison on bail

Rangoon (Mizzima) - The founder of the Myanmar Times weekly newspaper in Rangoon who is accused of violating the Immigration Act and assaulting a woman was released on bail on Tuesday, following a hearing in Kamaryut Township Court.

Australian journalist Ross Dunkley at the court in Rangoon. Photo: MizzimaHe was arrested on February 10 and has been held in Insein Prison. Dunkley will appear for a court hearing again on April 4.

He was released on 10 million kyat bail (US $11,780) put up by two colleagues at the Myanmar Times.

Tin Tun Oo, the CEO of the Myanmar Times and a colleague, Wai Lin, were bail guarantors.

Dunkley reportedly will return to the newspaper’s office on Wednesday and continue working as the English editor.

In  the hearing, Judge Aung Min said he granted bail because Dunkley suffers from heart disease.

Colleagues from the newspaper and foreign diplomats attended the hearing.

Dunkley’s high-profile case has attracted worldwide interest in the media community. Dunkley is also the publisher of the The Phnom Penh Post.

His business associates in Cambodia said in an earlier statement that the alleged female victim testified in a previous hearing that she wished to withdraw her complaint that alleged she had been drugged and held against her will by Dunkley but the Burmese authorities would not allow the complaint to be withdrawn.

Originally from Perth, Australia, Dunkley was the first foreigner to enter the Burmese domestic newspaper market in 2000 when he joined forces with Sonny Shwe, the son of a close ally of then military intelligence chief and junta prime minister, Khin Nyunt. Less than a year after Khin Nyunt’s purging from the military junta, Sonny Shwe was arrested and new Burmese co-owners took over his stake in the paper.

Rangoon media observers said that Dunkley and the Myanmar Times’ new CEO, Dr. Tin Tun Oo, were involved in a business dispute at the time of his arrest. Tin Tun Oo was named the new CEO four days after Dunkley’s arrest. Dunkley retains a 49 percent ownership in the English-language newspaper.

Last Updated ( Wednesday, 30 March 2011 11:52 )  

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