Conflicts & War

Political prisoners among freed Myanmar detainees, says rights monitor

Bangkok, Jan 5 (EFE).- Over 200 political prisoners are among the 7,000 detainees freed by the Myanmar military under an amnesty to mark the country’s independence anniversary a day ago.

According to the rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, “over 200 political prisoners from at least 19 prisons were released” on Wednesday.

“We have so far confirmed 43 identities and will continue to monitor the situation.”

The monitor rejected the junta’s clemency claim, which it said was “to distract international attention.”

“An illegal regime cannot announce an amnesty,” the AAPP said.

Myanmar faced isolation and sanctions from Western countries after the military seized power from a democratically elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

Among the political prisoners released on Wednesday are Htin Lin Oo, a writer, and politician from the National League for Democracy, and Arkar Moe Thu, a Yangon University teacher.

According to the Myanmar Now portal, another released prisoner is Thura Aung Ko, a former minister in the deposed government of Suu Kyi.

The prisoner release came five days after Suu Kyi was sentenced to seven more years in prison.

The latest sentencing brought the 77-year-old Nobel laureate’s jail term to a total of 33 years in the wake of a marathon of trials for almost 20 alleged crimes after the coup d’état.

She was already found guilty in a string of charges, including the illegal import of “walkie-talkies” in violation of the official secrets law, breaching COVID public safety rules, and violating the official secrets act, and was sentenced to 26 years in prison.

Suu Kyi, who has spent years under house arrest under previous military rule, was arrested during the first hours of the uprising against the coup in 2021.

The coup plunged Myanmar into a deep political, economic, and social crisis, which has aggravated armed ethnic conflicts raging in the country for decades.

According to AAPP, the military has allegedly used lethal force in response to pro-democracy protests, killed more than 2,700 people, and arrested over 13,350. EFE


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