Former UK ambassador to Myanmar Vicky Bowman jailed over immigration offenses

In the first months of its clearance operations in Rakhine State, more than 6,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced to flee arson attacks, arbitrary killings and gang rapes.

Relations between the UK and Myanmar have also deteriorated since the junta seized power and overthrew the elected government, detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, in a coup in 2021.

Earlier on Friday, a military court also sentenced Ms Suu Kyi to an additional three years in prison for electoral fraud.

Campaigners fear Ms Bowman and her husband could be victims of hostage diplomacy.

At the time of her arrest, the former diplomat, who speaks Burmese fluently, ran the Myanmar Center for Responsible Business.

The Cambridge University natural science graduate previously held diplomatic posts in Brussels where she worked for Chris Patten, the former EU commissioner, and as a spokesperson for the British representation.

Her husband Htein Lin is one of Myanmar’s most famous artists and a veteran activist who spent 6.5 years, between 1998 and 2004, in prison for his opposition to a previous junta.

Teenage daughter ‘stays safe and healthy’

The couple have a 14-year-old daughter who, according to a source, has remained “in good health”.

But their families are concerned about the conditions in which they are being held.

A close relative, who spoke on condition of anonymity to The Telegraph last week, said the family were unable to visit him despite being allowed to deliver food and medicine.

“Myanmar prison will be a disgusting place to live for any human being,” the relative said.

Ms Bowman and her husband join more than 15,000 people arrested since the coup, more than 12,000 of whom remain in detention, according to the Assistant Association for Political Prisoners group which tracks human rights abuses in Myanmar.

“Since the coup, we have seen activists, artists, journalists, students, business leaders and medical professionals arbitrarily detained and imprisoned by the military on the slightest pretext,” said Ming Yu Hah, Deputy Regional Director of Campaigns at Amnesty International.

“The latest reports on the sentencing of the former UK ambassador and her Burmese artist husband are deeply concerning. Myanmar’s military has a notorious record of arresting and imprisoning people on politically motivated or fabricated charges.

An FCDO spokesperson said: “We will continue to support Ms. Bowman and her family until their case is resolved.”

. Former Ambassador UK Myanmar Vicky Bowman imprisoned for offenses immigration

. ambassador Myanmar Vicky Bowman jailed immigration offenses

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