Myanmar Junta Releases Over 5,600 Anti-Coup Protesters
By The Irrawaddy 18 October 2021
Myanmar’s military regime released over 1,300 people jailed for participating in anti-coup protests on Monday, while also freeing more than 4,300 detainees who were facing charges for their anti-regime activism.
The amnesty came after coup chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing was excluded on Saturday from an annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) leaders’ summit.
Snr. Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, who seized power in a February 1 coup, was barred from the summit for failing to fulfil promises made to ASEAN of engaging in dialogue with the junta’s opponents and de-escalating the violence in Myanmar.
Some 24 artists and 10 celebrities who were facing lawsuits for their role in anti-regime movements had the cases against them closed as part of the amnesty. But those charged with bombings or destroying public property were excluded from the amnesty.
The 5,600-odd people freed on Monday were warned that if they are re-arrested they will have to serve the rest of their original sentences, as well as any new one. “If they commit crimes again, they will have to serve the remaining sentences in addition,” said the junta statement accompanying the prisoner release.
In the first week of August, the regime also released a number of detained civil servants, including a few doctors, who had been arrested for their participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
However, hundreds of government employees and medics are still detained in prisons nationwide.
On June 30, the regime also released over 2,200 detainees, most of whom had been charged with incitement for joining anti-regime protests.
As of Saturday, 9,028 people, including elected government leaders, have been detained since the coup, while 1,178 people have been slain by junta forces during their raids, crackdowns, arrests, interrogations and random shootings, said the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
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