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Burmese journalists fly home as Bangladesh drops charges

Minzayar Oo, left, and Hkun Lat, right, were detained by Bangladeshi authorities while on assignment for the German magazine GEO.

DHAKA — Bangladesh allowed two journalists from Burma detained while reporting about fleeing Rohingya Muslims to fly home on Tuesday and was dropping charges against them, their lawyer said.

Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat were picked up from the Cox Bazar’s region in early September because they were working as journalists on tourist visas, police said.

They were released on bail after calls from Germany’s GEO magazine, which had assigned Minzayar Oo to cover the influx of Rohingya refugees from Burma, as well as rights groups.

“It’s so good to be free again,” Minzayar Oo, one of Burma’s most prominent photographers, told Reuters soon after his plane landed in the Thai capital of Bangkok.

Bangladeshi authorities had begun the process to drop the charges against the pair, their lawyer Jyotirmoy Barua said.

Minzayar Oo has worked for various media outlets, covering Burma’s emergence from military rule. He had previously worked as a contractor with Reuters.

Hkun Lat is also a well-known photographer in Burma and has won prizes for his coverage of conflict in frontier regions.

About 582,000 refugees from Burma have poured into Bangladesh since 25 August, when attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts triggered an army crackdown in response.