DHAKA (Reuters) - Two journalists from Myanmar, who had been detained in Bangladesh while reporting on the influx of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, have been released on bail, a police official said on Saturday.
The journalists, Minzayar Oo and Hkun Lat, were detained in early September in the Cox’s Bazar border region of Bangladesh, where refugees are arriving from Myanmar to escape a military offensive against insurgents.
“A court granted them bail, but they can’t go back to their country now,” police official Ranajit Kumar Barua, told Reuters by telephone, adding that the court would decide whether the two could leave the country at a separate hearing which may take place sometime in the next week.
The two were arrested for violating immigration laws, but no charge sheet against the two has been filed yet, said Barua, denying reports that the two had been charged with espionage activities.
A lawyer for the two journalists also confirmed their release, but did not provide any further detail.
Bangladesh police had said that the pair were detained for engaging in journalistic work for a German magazine, while on tourist visas.
Some 429,000 refugees from Myanmar have poured into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when attacks by Rohingya militants on security posts triggered a Myanmar army crackdown in response.
Germany’s GEO magazine, which had assigned Minzayar Oo to cover the Rohingya crisis, said he had travelled to Bangladesh on Sept. 6, and was detained the next day.
Minzayar Oo is one of Myanmar’s most prominent photographers and has worked for various media outlets, covering the country’s emergence from military rule. He has previously worked as a contractor with Reuters.
Hkun Lat is also a well-known photographer in Myanmar and has won prizes for his coverage of conflict in frontier regions.
Additional reporting by Mohammad Nurul Islam in Cox's Bazar; Editing by Martin Howell