US journalist Nathan Maung freed from detention in Myanmar

Co-founder of Kamayut Media, who was arrested in March, will fly back to the US on Tuesday, lawyer says.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the February military coup, which triggered countrywide protests [Stringer/ Reuters]

An American journalist detained in Myanmar since March has been released after police withdrew charges against him, according to his lawyer.

Nathan Maung was released from Yangon’s Insein prison on Monday and will fly back to the United States on Tuesday, his lawyer Tin Zar Oo told the AFP news agency.

Maung, who co-founded local outlet Kamayut Media, had faced charges under a colonial-era law that criminalises encouraging dissent against the military, she added.

Earlier this month, a Myanmar journalist working for another outlet was jailed for two years under the same law.

Myanmar has been in turmoil since the military deposed elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi on February 1, triggering a mass uprising as thousands took to the streets to protest.

The military has responded with force – shooting protesters, arresting suspected dissidents in night raids, targeting journalists and shutting down news outlets.

Maung was arrested on March 9 in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon. Hanthar Nyein, who co-founded Kamayut Media along with Maung, was also arrested and remains in prison.

Maung was one of two American journalists arrested by the Myanmar military. US citizen Danny Fenster, editor of Frontier Magazine, was held on May 25 while attempting to leave the country. Authorities have yet to release any information on his whereabouts and wellbeing.

Since the February coup, security forces have killed more than 860 civilians, according to a local monitoring group.

Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing has justified his power grab by alleging electoral fraud in the November poll won by Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies