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Journal correspondent released, charges withdrawn

(Mizzima/IFEX) - Saw Myint Than, chief correspondent of the "Flower" journal, detained for over a month for covering a double murder in Thigangyun, Rangoon, was released from custody on the evening of 21 October 2008 after the charges against him were withdrawn.

Saw Myint Than was released after the prosecutor, Pol. Maj. Khin Maung Aye, withdrew the case against him under Section 34(d) of the Electronic Law.

A journalist close to the staff of the "Flower" said that Saw Myint Than had to sign a bond in return for his freedom, pledging not to commit a similar crime in the future.

The authorities, however, did not elaborate or clarify what a "similar crime" was.

He was charged with several offences, including having unlawful associations and using an unauthorized Internet connection, when his cases were registered at the Kyauktada police station in Rangoon. These were later withdrawn one by one.

Saw Myint Than is likely to return to his old position at the journal, sources said.

The police arrested him after the website of the "Irrawaddy", a magazine run by Burmese exiles, posted a news item saying that the Rangoon Division Police Force had summoned and reprimanded Saw Myint Than for covering a double murder incident in Thingangyun, Rangoon Division.

The police had accused Saw Myint Than of having contacts with the "Irrawaddy" news magazine, a charge both the correspondent and the news magazine denied.

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