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Amnesty releases more than 2,100 Myanmar political prisoners

Bangkok – On Wednesday, Myanmar’s ruling military council announced it would release more than 2,100 political prisoners as a humanitarian measure. Thousands more have been killed on charges commonly involving non-violent protests and criticism of the military regime that began when the military seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021. People remain imprisoned.

State-run MRTV television said the head of Myanmar’s military council, General Min Aung Hlaing, pardoned 2,153 prisoners on the most important Buddhist holy day of the year, which commemorates the birth, enlightenment and death of the Buddha. reported.

The release started Wednesday, but may take several days to complete. The identities of those released were not immediately known, but did not include Suu Kyi, who is serving a 33-year prison sentence for more than a dozen crimes her supporters say were fabricated by the military. bottom.

All prisoners granted amnesty on Wednesday are under a section of the Myanmar Penal Code that makes it a crime to spread comments that create fear or fear in the public, or to spread false news, according to an official statement in state media. was convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in prison.

The terms of the amnesty warned that if released detainees again broke the law, they would have to serve the remainder of their original sentence in addition to the period given for their new crime. ing.

Mass release of prisoners is common on major Myanmar holidays. Last release In July 2021, when 2,296 prisoners were released, so many political prisoners occurred at once.

Last November, several high-profile political prisoners, including an Australian academic, a Japanese filmmaker, a former British diplomat and an American, released a number of local citizens detained to protest the military takeover. Released as part of a broader prisoner amnesty. .

The Political Prisoners Assistance Association said Tuesday that 17,897 detainees remain in custody since the military takeover in 2021. The group keeps detailed tallies of arrests and casualties related to the regime’s repression.

The prisoners’ release appears to be due to a hard-line military regime to soften its image as a major human rights abuser.

Last week, former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the Myanmar military to take initiatives to find a way out of the country’s violent political crisis, including the release of political detainees. Surprise meeting with Min Aung Hlaing.

In a statement after the meeting, Mr. Ban “supported the international community’s call for the immediate release of all arbitrarily detained prisoners, constructive dialogue and maximum restraint from all parties concerned.” Stated.

Amnesty was given by Min Aung Hlaing Chinese Foreign Minister’s Visithas provided significant support to his administration since it took power.

MRTV said Tuesday that the Qin gang had met with Min Aung Hlaing and other senior officials in the capital Naypyidaw to exchange views on bilateral relations, the political situation in Myanmar and the conditions necessary for stability and development.

China is one of the few great powers that offers strategic geopolitical and economic interests to its southern neighbor, Myanmar, and maintains good relations with its shunned and shunned military regime. sanctioned by many western countries For its takeover and brutal suppression of the enemy.

Myanmar entered Turmoil since the military took powerThe takeover prompted peaceful protests that security forces put down with bloody violence. Since then, armed resistance has risen across the country and major military efforts to suppress it have escalated violence.

As of Tuesday, 3,452 civilians had been killed by security forces since the military takeover, according to the Political Prisoners Assistance Association.

Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

https://www.local10.com/news/world/2023/05/03/pardon-frees-more-than-2100-myanmar-political-prisoners/ Amnesty releases more than 2,100 Myanmar political prisoners

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