Model who criticized Myanmar’s military fears repatriation

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GBNEWS24DESK//

A model from Myanmar who denounced her country’s military rulers last year from the stage of a beauty pageant in Thailand said Friday she fears she may be forced back home, reports AP.

Thaw Nandar Aung, also known as Han Lay, told The Associated Press by phone that she has been stuck at Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport since being denied reentry to Thailand when she arrived Wednesday night from a short trip to Vietnam. She has been living in Thailand but needed to exit and reenter in order to extend her stay.

She said she was seeking the assistance of the United Nations refugee agency to avoid being sent back to Myanmar, where she feared harsh punishment from the military government she has criticized.

People denied entry to Thailand are usually deported to their last point of departure, but the U.N. agency advised her she would be arrested in Vietnam and then repatriated to Myanmar.

Thai Foreign Ministry spokesperson Tanee Sangrat confirmed in a text message that Thaw Nandar Aung was denied entry into Thailand “due to an issue with her travel document.”

“The relevant authorities did not make an arrest and have no plans to send her anywhere at this stage,” he said.

Myanmar’s military seized power in February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi and has cracked down heavily on widespread opposition to its rule. It used lethal force to quash demonstrations and has arrested critics, including actors and other celebrities, under various laws with potential penalties ranging from three years’ imprisonment to death. In July, authorities executed four activists who were accused of involvement with terrorist activities.

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