Conflicts & War

Myanmar junta frees over 800 prisoners to mark Unity Day

Bangkok, Feb 12 (EFE).- Myanmar’s military junta on Saturday released over 800 prisoners in an amnesty to mark the country’s Unity Day.

According to a statement published by the state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper, Junta chief General Min Aung Hlaing said that 814 prisoners had been released, a regular gesture on special holidays by the Burmese authorities.

Many of the prisoners were released in prisons near Yangon. Hundreds of people flocked to Insein prison where they waited for hours hoping to see relatives as inmates were leaving the prison grounds on buses.

Authorities did not say whether Sean Turnell, the Australian economic adviser to deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi, had been released, days after Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen mistakenly announced that he had been freed.

Suu Kyi, who was arrested on 1 February 2021 when the military seized control of the country following a general election in which her party won by a landslide, is not among the released prisoners and faces dozens of charges that could see her in prison for decades.

The 2021 coup has plunged the country into a deep political, social and economic crisis.

New civilian militias that have emerged have exacerbated the guerrilla war that Myanmar has witnessed for decades now, prompting a bloody military crackdown.

The Army alleges fraud on a massive scale gripped the November 2020 elections, which gave a sweeping victory to Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy, and the military annulled the ballot.

At least 1,547 people have died as a result of the brutal crackdown carried out by security forces since the coup, according to data from the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which also estimates that over 12,000 opponents were detained. EFE


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