Myanmar to release 5,600 prisoners of war

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The newspaper reported that 647 prisoners had been released from Yangon’s Incheon prison and that 80 had been released from a prison in Mandalay. A further 4,320 defendants currently in court will be released, the report said.

The release comes after the ruling party announced on Monday that it would release more than 5,600 people arrested for fighting the military regime after the February coup. The jury also said that the released prisoners should sign a pledge not to commit any acts of violence against the country.

Since the coup, Myanmar’s security forces have arrested more than 9,000 people, 7,355 of whom are still in detention, according to the Nonprofit Group for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

The Southeast Asian country was plunged into chaos following the coup, with daily struggles continuing for months and riots erupting in the border areas. The bloody repression led to thousands of detentions and widespread reports of torture.
Also, on Monday, regime leader General Min Aung Haling said he would exclude the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) from the upcoming meeting of the regional council last week. Instead, the panel said a “non-political” person from Myanmar would be invited to the ASEAN summit next week.

In a statement, Brunei, the current head of ASEAN, said there was not enough progress on a map to establish peace in Myanmar, adding that the group would “allow Myanmar to recover its internal affairs and return to normalcy”.

In response, Min Aung Haling blamed the ongoing violence on Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government and various ethnic armed groups.

“There has been a lot of violence caused by the provocations of terrorist groups,” Min Aung Hlung said in a speech on Monday. “No one cares about their violence. We only demand that the issue be resolved. ASEAN should do that.”

The comments, made on state television, were the first comments by Min Ang Hloing after the announcement of ASEAN.

Shortly afterwards, the AAPP said the panel’s decision to release the prisoners was “not accidental” and that it was “a form of distraction by foreign governments” in the context of the ASEAN decision.
Myanmar junta 'extremely disappointed' with leader's withdrawal from ASEAN summit

“The governing body will continue to refuse to be open about the release of detainees and who is being detained,” the AAPP said in a statement. “The liberated ‘protesters’ exercised their fundamental right to free assembly against the illegal coup attempt.”

The group called on the government to release all political prisoners, including Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who is facing corruption charges and has been under house arrest since February.

Capt. Nai Tutta, a former military officer who is now fighting the regime, said the regime would only release prisoners because Min Aung Hling was “expelled from the ASEAN summit.”

“The release of prisoners is to ease international pressure, not for the good of the people or the nation,” he said, adding that the ruling power should be handed over to the people immediately.

UN Special Rapporteur Tom Andrews welcomed the release of some detainees, but said their initial detention was “outrageous”.

“The regime change is not because of a change of heart but because of pressure to release political prisoners in Myanmar,” he said in a statement on Twitter.

Promising to hold new elections within two years and to work with ASEAN’s special envoy, Min Aung Hling announced in August as prime minister of the newly formed caretaker government.

Wayne Chang, Cape Diamond and Hannah Richie contributed to the report.



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