Myanmar police said on Saturday they were preparing to charge journalists working for Turkey’s state broadcaster TRT, their local interpreter and driver for bringing a drone into the country without permission.
The police were also expecting to obtain court permission to remand the four for up to 15 days as they prepare to charge them under Section 8 of the Export and Import Law. Violators of it can be jailed for up to three years.
The journalists – Lau Hon Meng from Singapore and Mok Choy Lin from Malaysia – plus their interpreter Aung Naing Soe and driver Hla Tin have been detained since Friday for flying a drone near the parliament in Myanmar’s capital Naypyitaw.
The development comes amid tension between Turkey and Myanmar over the Rohingya crisis. In early September, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the death of the Rohingya constituted a “genocide” aimed at Muslim communities in the region, a charge Myanmar denies.
More than 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled the majority-Buddhist Myanmar for neighboring Bangladesh since security forces responded to Rohingya militants’ attacks on Aug. 25 by launching a crackdown.
Turkish broadcaster TRT said on its website that the network “is in discussions with Myanmar authorities to secure their release. Both journalists had valid visas”.