The four, including an Australian economist and a former UK ambassador, were among thousands of people arrested after the coup.
Four foreigners who were among thousands of people arrested by the Myanmar military following their takeover in February 2021 have left the country after being released under amnesty.
Sean Turnell, a 58-year-old Australian economist who works as an adviser to elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, arrived in Melbourne on Friday morning.
His wife, Ha Vu, posted a photo of the two of them smiling on social media.
“He’s here,” she wrote, adding a smiling emoji surrounded by hearts.
Turnell was arrested shortly after the government seized power and sentenced alongside Aung San Suu Kyi for breaching state secrets in September. The military court imprisoned them for three years each.
The returnee was Japanese journalist Toru Kubota who arrived in Tokyo early Friday morning. The 26-year-old was arrested after filming an anti-terror rally in Yangon in July and was convicted last month of inciting discontent with the military.
“I was released very quickly because of the help from Japan, the media and the government officials who tried to solve the problem,” he told reporters at Haneda Airport.
Former UK Ambassador to Myanmar Vicky Bowman boarded a connecting flight after arriving in Bangkok on Thursday night and did not comment on her release. She was arrested along with her husband, famous artist Htein Lin, on immigration charges. The military said they had also been released but reporters on the plane said they were not with Bowman.
A fourth visitor, US-Myanmar citizen Kyaw Htay Oo, told AFP he was “very happy” after arriving in the Thai capital.
“I have never thought about what I will do when I return home. What I know is that Myanmar has no freedom.”
Thousands of people worked for political causes
About 6,000 prisoners are due to be released on Thursday to mark Myanmar’s National Day, “including about 600 women”, the army said in announcing the amnesty.
Hundreds of people gathered outside Yangon’s Insein Prison in the early hours of the morning despite the rain in hopes that their loved ones would be among those released.
One woman, who did not want to give her name for fear of reprisals, said she was waiting for her husband, who was within three years of serving a prison term for encouraging dissent from the military.
The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which has been tracking the military’s crimes, says that around 13,000 people have been arrested for political reasons since February 2021.
“After the verdict, he participated in the protest. I am very proud of him,” he said.
The military authorities have used brutal force to suppress the opposition to their rule, and have killed about 2,300 people, but they have failed to suppress the opposition. Some citizens have taken up arms, joining the so-called People’s Defense Forces and fighting alongside armed groups fighting for independence within the country’s borders.
Three former ministers in Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, including close friends of Thein Oo and lawyer Kyaw Hoe, were among those released on Thursday, as was Myo Nyunt, a spokesperson for her National League for Democracy party.
The military has announced a large number of prisoner amnesties since taking power but the US, which has sanctioned members of the military government, has said there is no sign the military is relaxing its powers.
“It’s a very bright moment in a very dark time,” US Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters at the Asia-Pacific summit in Bangkok.