Conflicts & War

Myanmar military to set free 5,600 anti-coup protesters

Bangkok, Oct 18 (EFE).- Myanmar military ruler Min Aung Hlaing Monday said his government would drop charges and release 5,636 protesters arrested for demonstrating against the Feb.1 coup.

In a televised speech, the military dictator said those in prison must sign a bond that they would not commit acts of violence against the nation.

Among the people who will have their charges dropped include 24 artists and ten influential people accused by the authorities of sedition for their activities against the military regime.

Sedition in Myanmar is punishable by a maximum of three years in prison.

It was unknown if the prisoners, to be freed, would include high-profile civilian politicians like the deposed leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, and the former president, Win Myint.

The two are facing several cases against them.

The military rulers arrested more than 7,350 protesters after the coup that brought an abrupt end to a decade of a fledgling democracy in Myanmar.

The coup sparked country-wide protests.

Nonprofits and global rights bodies have accused the military rulers of using fatal force to quell peaceful demonstrations.

The announcement to set free the prisoner came after the 10-member bloc, the Association of Southeast Asean Nations, snubbed the military dictator and decided not to invite him for the summit between October 26 and 28.

Asean foreign ministers at an emergency meeting on Friday night decided to exclude the military junta from the summit and all the related meetings.

According to the bloc, the military junta has made “insufficient” progress in solving the political and social crisis after more than nine months of the military coup.

The foreign ministers of the bloc met Friday to analyze the progress on the five-point consensus between the Asean leaders and the military junta leader General Min Aung Hlaing.

The agreement in April stressed a solution to the political and social crisis triggered by the coup.

The five points include an end to violence against civilians, a dialog between all parties to reach a peaceful solution, and appointment of an Asean envoy and visit to Myanmar.

Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin defended the decision of the junta not to allow the special Asean envoy for Myanmar, Bruneian Minister Erywan Yusof, to meet the ousted leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, due to the legal proceedings against her.

Earlier, Yusof abruptly suspended his first trip to the Asian country after the military denied him a meeting with Suu Kyi.

The Asean foreign ministers described the progress in the implementation of the five-point consensus as “insufficient.

They noted the “importance of a visit of the envoy”, emphasizing the importance of “access to all parties concerned.”

On the other hand, the foreign ministers appreciated the Myanmar military junta’s “continued readiness” to work closely with the special envoy while calling for greater “flexibility” to build “trust and confidence” between all parties.

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