Saturday, 23 Sep 2023

Myanmars military rulers release more than 2,100 political prisoners

Myanmars military rulers release more than 2,100 political prisoners


Myanmars military rulers release more than 2,100 political prisoners

Myanmar's ruling military council has said it is releasing more than 2,100 political prisoners as a humanitarian gesture.

Thousands more remain imprisoned on charges generally involving nonviolent protests or criticism of military rule, which began when the army seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

State-run MRTV television reported on Wednesday that the head of Myanmar's military council, Senior Gen Min Aung Hlaing, had pardoned 2,153 prisoners on the most important Buddhist holy day of the year, marking the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.

In a separate report, it said Min Aung Hlaing had commuted the death sentences of 38 prisoners to life in prison. The report provided no further details.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, 112 prisoners were on death row as of Tuesday. The group keeps detailed tallies of arrests and casualties linked to the repression of the military government. At least four executions have been carried out since the military seized power.

The prisoner releases began on Wednesday but may take a few days to be completed. The identities of those released were not immediately available, but do not include Aung San Suu Kyi, who is serving a prison term of 33 years on more than a dozen charges her supporters say were trumped up by the military.

According to an official announcement on state media, all of the prisoners granted pardons on Wednesday were convicted under a section of the penal code that makes it a crime to spread comments that create public unrest or fear, or spread false news, and carries a penalty of up to three years in prison.

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