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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Myanmar announces amnesty to thousands of coup protesters

Myanmar’s ruling junta announced on Monday that it will release more than 5,600 anti-regime protesters this week, marking the first significant release of political prisoners since the February 1 coup took over power.

The junta said it is granting amnesty to prisoners on the occasion of the Lighting Festival, a three-day celebration that begins on Tuesday. But he did not give any indication as to whether senior officials from the ousted civilian government, including its leader, Do Aung San Suu Kyi, would be among those released.

Most of the protesters were arrested during this year’s brutal crackdown, when millions took to the streets and staged a nationwide strike. Soldiers and police have killed more than 1,170 protesters – often by shooting them in the head – and detained more than 7,300 others, according to the political prisoner assistance association, a human rights group.

In recent months, the military has successfully suppressed street protests, but they often face guerrilla attacks in cities. He also clashes with newly formed rebel groups in remote areas, including Chin State, where the military is building up its forces, according to eyewitnesses.

The amnesty announcement came just days after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, of which Myanmar is a member, announced that it would exclude the head of the junta, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, from an upcoming meeting of regional leaders.

The 10-member association, commonly known as ASEAN, rarely interferes in the affairs of member countries, but seems to make an exception for Myanmar.

In April, the leaders met to discuss the coup and invited General Min Aung Hlaing, seemingly recognizing him as the leader of Myanmar. They agreed on a five-point plan urging the regime to end the violence immediately, and subsequently appointed an envoy – Brunei diplomat Erivan Yusof – to visit Myanmar.

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But Myanmar refused to allow him to meet with Ms. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, who is under arrest and facing trial on multiple criminal charges, and the envoy has not yet visited the country.

Aaron Connelly, a fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Singapore, said it was too early to say whether the release of prisoners was a reaction to ASEAN’s seemingly tougher stance.

He noted that Myanmar often releases large numbers of prisoners during amnesty, and the regime’s intentions may be unclear until more details of the release are known.

“We will have to wait and see who was released under the amnesty, which is an annual ritual,” said Mr. Connelly. “If they decide to release some prominent NLD or resistance leaders,” he added, referring to the National League for Democracy, Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, “then I would think this is at least partly a response to ASEAN pressure. But that seems unlikely to me. “

On Monday, the regime announced in two statements that it would drop charges against 4,320 people awaiting trial for their participation in the protests and release 1,316 more convicts. The junta said it was acting “out of respect for the humanitarian cause.”

World Nation News Deskhttps://www.worldnationnews.com
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