News / Asia

Australian Publisher Convicted in Burma, Sentenced to Time Served

Australian journalist Ross Dunkley, co-founder of the Myanmar Times, talks to reporters after his court hearing at Kamaryut township in Yangon, June 30, 2011
Australian journalist Ross Dunkley, co-founder of the Myanmar Times, talks to reporters after his court hearing at Kamaryut township in Yangon, June 30, 2011
Danielle Bernstein

A court in Burma has convicted the Australian publisher of the Myanmar Times of minor assault and immigration violations.

The charges

Myanmar Times
publisher Ross Dunkley was convicted of assault and immigration violations, but released in recognition of time served in jail while awaiting trial. Dunkley said the verdict was ridiculous and he would appeal.

Dunkley was arrested February 10, and held at Insein prison until he was released on bail March 29, ostensibly because of a heart condition.

He was charged with assaulting a 29-year-old Burmese woman and holding her against her will in his home. She requested the charges be dropped on February 24, because her pregnancy prevented her from traveling to the proceedings, but the court refused.

The trial was delayed on several occasions, because either witnesses or prosecutors failed to appear in court.

Predetermined verdict?

Dunkley business associate David Armstrong said it seemed to be a predetermined verdict.

“We believed all along that Ross was not guilty of anything so we are a bit disappointed that he was not acquitted, but nevertheless he is free and he is out, and he can continue his work," said Armstrong.

Business dispute

Dunkley and Bill Clough own 49 percent of Myanmar Consolidated Media, the largest privately owned media company in Burma. At the time of his arrest, Dunkley was engaged in a protracted business dispute with the Burmese majority shareholder, Tin Htun Oo.  

The dispute fueled speculation the arrest was the result of a struggle to gain control of the paper. Tin Htun Oo is in charge of the Burmese-language edition of the newspaper and denies he has a dispute with Dunkley.

Zaw Win of Memo98, a Slovakian organization that has been monitoring media freedoms in Burma since the election, said he was pleased Dunkley was not heading back to jail. Although Dunkley was accused in the past of being an apologist for the Burmese regime, Win said his initial arrest had been alarming for all journalists in Burma.

“He plays with fire, you know? Working under the Burmese authorities is not easy," said Win. "My point of view he is a journalist and he has worked in some ways for media freedom.”

The verdict occurred the same day Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd arrived on an official visit to Burma. Rudd is the highest-ranking official from Australia to visit Burma, and is expected to hold talks with top officials.


You May Like

UN Watchdog Urges Israel to Probe Possible Gaza War Crimes

More than 2,100 Palestinians, most of them civilians, were killed in a 51-day war in Gaza, along with 67 Israeli soldiers and six civilians in Israel More

New Kenyan 'Thin SIMs' Poised to Transform African Mobile Money

Equity's new technology is approved in African nation for one-year trial, though industry leader Safaricom says thin SIMs could lead to data theft and fraud More

Solar's Future Looks Brighter

New technology and dropping prices are contributing to a surge in solar power More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
October 25, 2014 4:21 PM
Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Talks to Resume on Winter Gas for Ukraine

Ukrainian and Russian officials will meet again next week in an effort to settle their dispute over natural gas supplies that threatens to leave Ukraine short of heating fuel for the coming winter. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London the dispute is complex, and has both economic and geopolitical dimensions.
Video

Video Smugglers Offer Cheap Passage From Turkey to Syria

Smugglers in Turkey offer a relatively cheap passage across the border into Syria. Ankara has stepped up efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters who want to join Islamic State militants fighting for control of the Syrian border city of Kobani. But porous borders and border guards who can be bribed make illegal border crossings quite easy. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.

All About America

AppleAndroid