Ross Dunkley, the publisher of The Phnom Penh Post, appeared in court in Yangon today on immigration and possible criminal charges.
In a statement today, David Armstrong, chairman of Post Media Ltd, said Dunkley, also a shareholder in the weekly Myanmar Times, appeared in Kamaryut Township Court to face charges under Myanmar’s immigration laws.
“Mr Dunkley’s detention in Yangon’s Insein Prison was continued until March 3, when he is to appear in court again,” Armstrong said.
Dunkley, 53, was arrested by Myanmar authorities on February 10 on suspicion of violating the country’s immigration laws.
At the time, Armstrong linked the arrest to an ongoing struggle between Dunkley and Tin Htun Oo, the Burmese majority stakeholder in the Myanmar Consolidated media, which publishes the Times, over the paper’s ownership.
But the details of the case remain sketchy, with international media outlets including CNN and Agence France-Presse reporting that Dunkley also faces charges related to the assault of a Myanmar woman, claims that could not be independently verified today.
In his statement, Armstrong said that the woman who had made the allegations of physical assault against Dunkley said during cross examination that “some allegations she made during the hearing did not appear in the original police report of her complaint”.
The woman then told the court she wanted to withdraw her complaint, Armstrong added. It is unclear whether the court acted on her request.
Contrary to other outlets, AFP reported that the woman at the centre of the alleged charge did not appear in court today.
A spokesperson for the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade confirmed prior to today’s hearing that a 53-year-old Australian national assumed to be Dunkley faced criminal charges as well as charges under the country’s Migration Act.
The spokesperson did not mention the specific nature of any of the charges.
“The Australian Embassy in Rangoon is closely monitoring developments and is in close contact with the man,” the spokesperson said.