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Former British ambassador to Myanmar reportedly detained

BANGKOK (AP) A former British ambassador to Myanmar who now heads a small business ethics advisory group in the Southeast Asian country has been arrested on charges of violating immigration laws by failing woefully to register her change of address, the military government said Thursday.

Its Tatmadaw True News Information Team confirmed in a text that Vicky Bowman, who served because the British envoy in 2002-2006, was detained for failing woefully to inform the authorities this past year when she and her husband moved from their registered address in Yangon, the countrys biggest city, to Kalaw township in Shan state in east-central Myanmar.

It said she was charged beneath the Immigration Act and the Foreigners Registration Rules. It said Bowman, who has requested a visa to accomplish business in Myanmar, was charged with breaching visa rules because she didn’t adhere to regulations governing foreigners.

Failure to improve the address on her behalf official residence permit registration card makes her prone to half a year to five years imprisonment, it said. It didn’t clearly explain what the punishment was for another alleged offense.

The short statement appeared to imply failure to properly register her address automatically put her in violation of the Immigration Act. The act has catch-all provisions saying that foreigners are guilty of violating the terms of these visas if they’re found to possess broken other laws.

Since 2013, Bowman has been heading the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, which says its goals are the promotion of human rights through responsible business in Myanmar. Calls to the business for comment went answered.

Bowmans first stint as a diplomat in Myanmar was in 1990-93 because the British Embassys second secretary.

The governments statement said Bowmans husband, Myanmar artist Htein Lin, was also detained and charged with abetting the failure to join up the correct address, another charge much like his wifes.

Htein Lin can be an artist and veteran political activist who was simply students when he took part in Myanmars failed 1988 uprising against military rule. He was also a political prisoner under a past government.

It said her husband, Myanmar artist Htein Lin, was also detained and charged with abetting the failure to join up the correct address, That charge, also under immigration law, carries exactly the same punishment.

Myanmar Now, like the majority of of the countrys independent media, is forced to use underground due to tight controls imposed by the military government.

A pal of Htein Lin, who asked that her name not be utilized because of concern with government reprisal, told The Associated Press that the were taken by security forces on Wednesday while these were temporarily residing in Yangon.

A British Embassy spokesperson told The Associated Press within an email that people are worried by the arrest of a British woman in Myanmar. We have been in touch with the neighborhood authorities and so are providing consular assistance. The embassy provided no more details due to privacy concerns.

Myanmar has been under military rule since February 2021, when its army ousted the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.

The takeover triggered widespread peaceful protests that soon erupted into armed resistance, and the united states slipped into what some U.N. experts characterize as a civil war.

In accordance with detailed lists by the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), an advocacy group, about 2,239 civilians have died in the military governments crackdown on opponents and much more than 15,216 folks have been arrested.

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