Model who criticized Myanmar’s military fears repatriation - worldsnews
Skip to content Skip to sidebar Skip to footer

Model who criticized Myanmar’s military fears repatriation

(AP) BANGKOK — A model from Myanmar who spoke out against the military government of her nation last year while competing in a pageant in Thailand said on Friday that she worries about being sent back home.

Han Lay, also known as Thaw Nandar Aung, told The Associated Press over the phone that she had been trapped at Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport ever since she arrived Wednesday night after a brief vacation to Vietnam and was refused admittance into Thailand. She had been residing in Thailand, but in order to extend her stay, she had to leave and return.

She said that she spoke with UNHCR authorities on Friday in an effort to prevent being returned to Myanmar, where she feared suffering harsh punishment from the military administration she has denounced.

Normally, those denied admission to Thailand are sent back to their last place of origin, but the U.N. organization informed her that she would be detained in Vietnam and then sent back to Myanmar.

Thaw Nandar Aung's denial of admission into Thailand was verified by Tanee Sangrat, a spokeswoman for the Thai Foreign Ministry, in a text message.

He stated, "At this time, the appropriate authorities have no intentions to transfer her anyplace and have not made an arrest of her."

In February 2021, the military in Myanmar overthrew Aung San Suu Kyi's elected government and has since repressed fierce resistance to its control. It has detained critics, including actors and other celebrities, under numerous laws with possible punishments ranging from three years in prison to death, and has used fatal force to put down demonstrations. Authorities killed four activists suspected of participating in terrorist acts in July.

Thaw Nandar Aung said that she was prosecuted in absentia with sedition in September of last year after speaking out against the military coup both at the contest and online. The maximum sentence under the law, which punishes offenses that "bring into hate or contempt, or stir or seek to inspire disaffection towards the government," as well as the military or its troops, is 20 years in jail.

She claimed that after entering her identity into their computer database upon arriving in Bangkok, Thai immigration officials questioned her if she had reported her passport lost in Vietnam, to which she answered "no." The police of a member nation had requested her to be held, according to the woman, who said they then showed her a screen that showed there was an Interpol Red Notice out for her.

No instant confirmation was available as to whether Interpol had published such a notification. However, in an effort to stifle their operations, Myanmar's military government unilaterally withdrew the passports of several of its top rivals.

She was informed by Thai police on Thursday night that Myanmar police had arrived to speak with her, but Thaw Nandar Aung claims she refused to see them.

When the Miss Grand International competition took place in Bangkok, Thailand, last year, Thaw Nandar Aung, representing Myanmar, utilized her platform to discuss the deaths of pro-democracy demonstrators in her native country.

Every everyone in the globe wants their nation to be prosperous and for there to be peace, she added. The leaders participating in this shouldn't abuse their positions of authority or act egotistically.

"Today there are so many people dying, more than 100 people perished today in my country, Myanmar, when I will be on stage. She paused periodically to hold back tears as she stated, "I am very sorry for all the individuals who have lost their life.

"I want to appeal for here that, please help Myanmar," she continued. Right now, we urgently want foreign assistance.

After meeting with representatives of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees office on Friday, Thaw Nandar Aung expressed optimism that she would not be deported back to Myanmar. She claimed they assured her that they would do all in their power to locate a nation where she could seek refuge as soon as possible, maybe in a few days.

She said that in the meanwhile, she must stay in a room with guards given by the Thai government at the airport's international area's departure area.