Myanmar Now’s multimedia reporter Kay Zon Nway was among the more than 700 people released from Insein Prison on Wednesday afternoon, according to a family member.
She was arrested on February 27 while covering a protest in Yangon and had been charged under Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement, which carries a prison sentence of up to three years.
The 27-year-old journalist spent 124 days in detention.
“She called us with someone else’s mobile and told us that she was coming back home,” a relative of Kay Zon Nway told Myanmar Now.
During her four months detention, she had been separated from the other prisoners and placed in a smaller cell with one other female inmate for more than a month until the end of May.
Kay Zon Nway’s separate confinement began weeks after the mid-April start of Ramadan. As a Muslim, she was fasting, and was accused of staging a hunger strike. Prison officials later attributed her punishment to a case of mistaken identity, according to her lawyer.
Also released along with Kay Zon Nway was Ye Myo Khant, photojournalist at the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency, and Aung Ye Ko, a reporter at 7Day News, who were detained on the same day in late February. They were also facing the same charges of violating Section 505a.
Since Wednesday morning, relatives of detainees had been waiting outside prisons across the country to welcome the release of their loved ones. Prison officials only began the release in the late afternoon.
The Irrawaddy reported that six journalists, including Kay Zon Nway, were freed on Wednesday.
Some young activists, protesters, and poets who were arrested for their involvement in anti-coup demonstrations were among the released detainees, according to their family members.
Myanmar Now is still gathering further information on those who were released.
According to the Detained Journalists Information Myanmar, a local project which compiles data on arrested reporters and news outlets under prosecution, 50 journalists were facing trial as of Tuesday four had been convicted of incitement.