Political Prisoners Freed by Myanmar Junta Rearrested on Same Day

By The Irrawaddy 19 October 2021

Some political prisoners freed by the junta on Monday were rearrested on the same day and charged under the terrorism law, their colleagues said.

Myanmar’s regime released over 5,600 people, most of whom were arrested and facing trial for participating in anti-junta protests. As of Saturday, more than 7,300 people had been detained by the junta since the coup.

In Mandalay Region’s Meiktila town, 11 of 38 political prisoners released were apprehended by police after walking out of Meiktila Prison. Those rearrested were an elected lawmaker from the National League for Democracy (NLD), other NLD members, and political activists including members of the ’88 Generation students movement.

NLD sources said on Tuesday morning that the 11 would be charged under sections 50A and 52J of the Counterterrorism Law for attempted terrorism and having contact with terrorist groups. If found guilty, they could be sentenced to up to seven years in prison.

Sources at the Mandalay branch of the NLD said U Lwin Maung Maung, who was elected to the Mandalay regional parliament in 2020 on the NLD ticket, was taken by the police at around 6 p.m. in Mandalay.

“I saw Ko Lwin [U Lwin Maung Maung] at the prison gate but police took him to the No. 1 Police Station near Meiktila Prison right after his release and some were arrested before arriving home,” said a source who was in front of the prison at the time.

U Lwin Mg Mg was first arrested in late April and charged with sedition under Section 505-A of the Penal Code, which carries a maximum sentence of three years’ imprisoment.

The Irrawaddy could not reach police for comment.

Monday’s amnesty came right after ASEAN’s exclusion of junta leader Min Aung Hlaing from the group’s upcoming summit for his regime’s failure to collaborate with the regional bloc’s efforts to resolve Myanmar’s post-coup political crisis. The junta said the prisoners were freed on humanitarian grounds, but many believe the amnesty on Monday was the regime’s attempt to appease 10-member ASEAN, of which Myanmar is a member.

Previously, the regime announced mass amnesties in February and April.

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