2 Myanmar journalists released
Two Myanmar photojournalists accused of hiding their identities and gathering secret state information were released on bail on Friday night.
Though the journalists -- Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat -- walked out of jail, they cannot leave the country, according to the bail order of the Senior Judicial Magistrate Court of Cox's Bazar. The charges brought against them have not been dropped yet.
Police arrested the duo on September 13 on charges of taking photographs and gathering secret information in the bordering areas of Cox's Bazar while hiding their journalist identity to law enforcers and local government officials.
They were also accused of violating immigration rules by entering Bangladesh as tourists to work as journalists.
Barrister Jyotirmoy Barua, lawyer of the photojournalists, said they were trying to get passports and other belongings back from police after being released from Cox's Bazar jail.
They will have to get permission from the court to fly back home, he added.
"They [photojournalists] can leave Bangladesh once charges against them are dropped, and it depends on the police investigation report."
Court Inspector Didarul Islam said the legal procedures against the two journalists were on and they must appear before the court whenever hearing on the charges would take place.
"They need to stay in Bangladesh as they will have to appear before court during hearing.”
Meanwhile, the Committee to Protect Journalists has been demanding immediate release of the Myanmar journalists and dropping of all the charges against them.
A New York-based non-profit, non-government organisation that works for press freedom, CPJ said the arrest of Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat had been made when they were on an assignment for German magazine GEO.
The journalists travelled to Cox's Bazar to report on the influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar, it said quoting Juergen Schaefer, deputy editor-in-chief of GEO.
Earlier, British photo agency Panos Pictures in a press release said Minzayar Oo is a member of Panos and an internationally renowned, award winning photojournalist, whose work has been published widely and recognised by some of the world's most important journalism awards.