Myanmar Junta Frees NLD Finance Minister and Two Political Prisoners

By The Irrawaddy 31 October 2022

Former planning and finance minister U Soe Win of the deposed National League for Democracy (NLD) government was among three regime opponents released from jail by the junta on Friday, sources close to the trio said.

The other two political prisoners freed were singer Po Po and beauty blogger Win Min Than.

U Soe Win was released from Yamethin Prison in Mandalay’s Yamethin Township one month after being jailed, according to his lawyer.

He was a co-defendant in the case filed against detained civilian leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, her economic advisor Australian professor Sean Turnell, her economic minister U Kyaw Win and her deputy finance minister U Set Aung, for allegedly violating the Official Secrets Act. He was sentenced to three years in prison on September 28 by a special court inside Naypyitaw Prison.

He was then transferred to Yamethin Prison along with U Kyaw Win and U Set Aung. None of his co-defendants has been released, however.

The 84-year-old was detained in the aftermath of last year’s coup. He underwent surgery for colon cancer while under detention in Naypyitaw in December last year. He was granted bail in January. U Soe Win is still being treated for cancer.

The release just days comes after former Union Election Commission chairman U Hla Thein and member U Myint Naing were released from Yamethin Prison on October 26. The two were given three years in prison in July after being accused of negligence in organizing the 2020 general election, which Myanmar’s military alleged was marred by fraud.

U Than Htay, another former election commission member, was convicted of the same offense but remains in prison.

Singer Po Po and beauty blogger Win Min Than were released from Yangon’s Insein Prison on Friday. The duo was arrested by the regime in April last year for participating in anti-coup protests and handed three years’ imprisonment for incitement in December.

The regime has not yet announced their release.