For around 3,000 prisoners: Junta in Myanmar announces mass amnesty

Myanmar's military junta has announced the release of more than 3,000 prisoners, including nearly 100 foreigners, as part of a new mass amnesty.

For around 3,000 prisoners: Junta in Myanmar announces mass amnesty

Myanmar's military junta has announced the release of more than 3,000 prisoners, including nearly 100 foreigners, as part of a new mass amnesty. The occasion is the traditional New Year's festival "Thingyan" in former Burma. The generals announced the releases Monday on a pro-military Telegram channel. It is not known whether political prisoners will also be released. A senior general said the amnesty was "to bring joy to people and address humanitarian concerns."

Many relatives were waiting in front of the well-known Insein prison in the largest city of Yangon (formerly: Rangoon). "So far, about 50 prisoners have come out," said a family member of several political prisoners at noon (local time) of the German Press Agency. He therefore hoped for the release of his daughter, who had been arrested for protesting against the junta.

Since the military coup on February 1, 2021 and the removal of de facto Prime Minister Aung San Suu Kyi from power, the junta has ruled with an iron fist. Arbitrary arrests are frequent. Suu Kyi is in prison and has been sentenced to a total of more than 30 years in prison for alleged misdemeanors. Just last week, a military airstrike on a village in the Sagaing region caused horror around the world: According to eyewitnesses, more than 170 people were killed, including many children.

AAPP: At least 3,200 people killed by junta

The generals had already released around 5,700 prisoners on the occasion of the national holiday in mid-November. Among them were prominent foreigners, such as Australian economics professor and former adviser to Suu Kyi, Sean Turnell, and former British ambassador to the country, Vicky Bowman. In January, the junta also ordered a mass amnesty for 7,000 prisoners to mark the 75th anniversary of independence from the former British colonial power.

According to the prisoner aid organization AAPP, the military has imprisoned more than 21,300 people since the coup, and around 17,400 are still in custody. At least 3,200 people were killed by the junta.

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