Brianna Keilar of CNN is headed home to the United States after weeks in prison in Myanmar.
The network tweeted Friday afternoon that they had learned Keilar was being sent home after local officials and family members intervened on her behalf.
I’ve learned that I will be going home shortly. Thanks to all of you who have called and tweeted. I will update you as soon as I am back in the U.S. pic.twitter.com/gjLzFmGmMH — Brianna Keilar (@briannakeilar) March 16, 2021
Keilar was arrested earlier this month along with Laura Ling and Euna Lee, two other journalists working for the network. They were working on a story about life in Myanmar at the time. The trio of journalists was trying to enter the country when their vehicle was attacked and they were arrested.
The women remain in jail, still facing charges of violating Myanmar’s immigration law.
The group of reporters says they were illegally detained, and that they came under attack by Myanmar forces as they attempted to cross into northern Kachin State.
Neither Keilar nor Ling had been charged at the time of this story’s publication. Lee left Myanmar on Saturday.
The detentions of the journalists cast a serious question mark over the way the United States and other Western nations are handling the situation in Myanmar, especially given the reluctance of the United States and other countries to use the term “genocide” to describe the country’s treatment of its Rohingya population.
The U.S. and other nations are expected to increase funding for development in Myanmar now that President Donald Trump has visited the country. But critics have said the criticism of the country and their unwillingness to use the term “genocide” allowed the president’s chief of staff, John Kelly, to argue last month on the same trip that the United States should do more to help improve conditions in Myanmar.
CNN reporter Laura Ling and photographer Euna Lee (center) were arrested in a June 2016 motorcade that had only one policeman on it, and were apparently wounded, while reporting on Burma’s Kachin State. They have been jailed since December. (CNN)
The release of Keilar from jail Friday afternoon was greeted by a flurry of tweets from U.S. President Donald Trump’s Twitter account.
One of the tweets followed a back-and-forth earlier in the day between Keilar and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Kelly said on Thursday that the administration did not see any “documented genocidal acts” by the Myanmar military.
“Lying about global crisis to ram through Burma decision is lowest of the low,” Kelly tweeted on Friday.
Keilar retorted: “@presssec please tell the truth about reporting that @larrystrubel reported when you said atrocities were ‘documented.'”
It’s unclear whether Trump was referring to White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ statements about “credible” evidence of Myanmar soldiers committing atrocities in Rakhine state.
But Saturday morning, Trump tweeted Keilar was “just released from prison” and asked his followers “how much of a joke I’ve become” for complimenting Kelly, who was named Trump’s chief of staff in December.
Then, another tweet followed: “Great work for your country,” Trump wrote of the reporter. “Thank you to all of you who supported your cause!”
The women remain incarcerated in Myanmar, and any resolution for them is far from certain.
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