Relatives of hundreds of detainees gathered outside Myanmar’s Insein prison on Sunday after the military government announced a general amnesty for 1,600 detainees in the Southeast Asian nation’s New Year.
The number of prisoners released on the annual general amnesty was a fraction of last year’s 23,000. It was not clear whether the imprisoned members of the civilian government ousted in the February 1, 2021 coup would be included.
A local reporter at the scene told Reuters that no political protesters had been released from Insein.
A junta secretary of state, Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dua, signed a statement announcing that “1,619 prisoners, including 42 detained foreigners, will be released under Amnesty as part of Myanmar’s New Year celebrations, to the delight and address of the people.” Humanitarian concerns. ”
According to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (APP) activist group, at least 13,282 people have been arrested and 1,756 dissidents killed since the military coup.
Detainees include the leader of the ousted government, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, a prisoner in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, and her Australian economic adviser, Sean Turnell, who is in the INSIN facility on the outskirts of Yangon.
“The junta uses political prisoners as hostages,” an APP spokesman told Reuters on Sunday. A spokesman for the junta, which has disputed APP’s figures, declined to comment.
Standing in front of police in white on Sunday, nervous-looking families held placards with the names of their loved ones, a local reporter said on condition of anonymity for security reasons.
The mother of the 22-year-old protester, who was arrested eight months ago, told reporters that she was waiting outside the insanity after writing that her son could be released on a general amnesty in April.
Another mother, whose son, a police officer, was arrested in June for taking part in an anti-law movement against the junta, said she had waited outside the jail several times during the previous amnesty.
Asked not to be named for fear of reprisals, he added: “I feel he will be released today. – Reuters