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Two hundred political prisoners freed in amnesty

FROM THE DVB NEWSROOM

An Independence Day amnesty on Jan. 4 that led to the release of 9,652 prisoners nationwide included 114 foreign detainees and 200 political prisoners.

A spokesperson from charity group Let’s Deliver Parcels to Prison, or in Burmese Htaung Win Sar Po Kya Mal, said most of those released had been sentenced to less than three years for non-violent offenses. 

“Compared to the number of more than 9,000 they announced, we can say that political prisoners are not even 10 percent,” he said. 

Among the 200 political prisoners freed in the amnesty was Aung Myint, a National League for Democracy (NLD) member of parliament for Thayarwady Township in Bago Region. But he was re-arrested after declining to sign a pledge stating that he would refrain from politics.

The NLD Minister of Social Welfare for Ayeyarwady Region Hla Myat Thwe, Mandalay Mayor Ye Lwin, and Mandalay City Municipal Development Committee member Kyaw Zeya, were also released.

Kaung Sett Lin from the Myanmar Pressphoto Agency (MPA) was one of at least nine journalists released on Jan. 4. He was arrested covering an anti-coup protest in Yangon in December 2021. At least 50 journalists remain in prison. Four have been killed. 

The Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners (AAPP) stated that the military’s repeated prisoner amnesties are meant to reduce international pressure on the regime in Naypyidaw. 

Since the 2021 military coup, a total of 25,762 individuals have been arrested with 19,924 still held in prison. This includes 8,465 sentenced by a military court. A total of 5,838 have been released by the military.

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