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NEWS-Myanmar Holds Foreigner Believ

Myanmar Holds Foreigner Believed to Be Mercenary


               BANGKOK, May 8 (Reuters) - A
               foreigner who sneaked into
               Myanmar illegally to distribute
               anti-government literature has
               been arrested by the military
               government and charged with
               being a mercenary for rebel
               groups jeopardising national
               security, government officials said
               on Friday. 

               James Rupert Russell Mawdsley,
               24, with dual Australian-British
               citizenship and from Sydney, was
               arrested on April 30 at
               Mawlamyine town in the Mon
               state about 300 km (190 miles)
               east of Yangon, they said. 

               The authorities have detained him
               in the capital as they consider
               immigration action against him. 

               This is the second time Mawdsley
               has been arrested by Myanmar
               authorities. Last September he
               was deported after being caught
               distributing anti-government
               leaflets in Yangon. 

               Official media accused him of
               cooperating with the anti-Yangon
               Karen National Union (KNU) rebel
               movement and with Myanmar
               student exiles belonging to the All
               Burma Student Democratic Front

               ``Investigations conducted by
               officials of the ministry of
               immigration and population
               revealed that he was a mercenary
               terrorist closely collaborating with
               KNU and ABSDF terrorists and
               had illegally entered Myanmar
               without a passport,'' the New Light
               of Myanmar newspaper reported. 

               The Thailand-based ABSDF
               issued a statement in Bangkok
               which said Mawdsley had entered
               Myanmar to draw the attention of
               the ruling State Peace and
               Development Council's (SPDC)
               suppression of democractic
               activities and its abuses of human

               The ABSDF statement quoted a
               note it said Mawdsley had left with
               KNU officials near Mawlamyine
               which said his aim was to
               distribute anti-government
               literature and actively seek arrest
               by the authorities. 

               ``I entered Burma without a
               passport. My plan is to get
               arrested by the SPDC authorities
               in Moulmein (Mawlamyine). I will
               distribute anti-SPDC leaflets and
               cassette tapes...I plan to get
               arrested on April 29 or 30,'' the
               statement quoted Mawdsley's

               ``I love Burma. I want to see
               Burma as a free and peaceful
               country. If the SPDC also wants
               Burma peaceful, they should start
               to talk with democratic groups,''
               the ABSDF quoted Mawdsley's
               letter as saying. 

               The ABSDF acknowledged
               Mawdsley was a sympathiser but
               denied he was a mercenary.
               Mawdsley was advised by the
               ABSDF and the KNU not to enter
               the country but he was
               determined to do so and the two
               groups were therefore compelled
               to help him, the statement said. 

               It added that Mawdsley had
               entered Myanmar in mid-April
               after leaving his British passport, a
               credit card, and an expired air
               ticket with an ABSDF friend on
               the Thai-Myanmar border.