Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi was released Friday after being arrested in Burma for “spreading false news” and imprisoning him.
Kitazumi arrived at Yangon airport after a military spokesman confirmed late Thursday that, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo, he had been transferred to a police facility from the prison he has been in for almost a month.
“Although Japanese journalist Yuki Kitazumi broke some laws, charges against him will be dropped and he will be released,” said the Burmese State Administration Council press team.
A decision which, as you have assured, is based “on the basis of the cordial relations between Burma and Japan to date and with a view to future and at the request of the Special Representative of the Japanese Government”.
Kitazumi, who works for the Nikkei newspaper and now lives in Rangoon, was arrested next to his home in April and put in a police vehicle. He could have been in prison for up to three years if found guilty of the charges brought against him under the criminal code as amended by the military after the coup.
The journalist had already been arrested by the security forces when he reported on a protest against the junta on February 26. Burmese security forces arrested numerous journalists, including many foreigners.
Several civil society associations have warned that the army is undermining freedom of expression by withdrawing licenses from various telecommunications companies. The security forces have also restricted the use of the internet.