Fri, 09 June 2023
The Daily Ittefaq

Myanmar: Military junta pardons over 2,000 prisoners

Update : 03 May 2023, 14:55

The junta in Myanmar said those who violate the "humanitarian" gesture will have to serve the rest of their sentence with an additional penalty.

The military junta in Myanmar released over 2,000 prisoners on Wednesday who were jailed for dissenting on the occasion of a festival marking the birth of the Buddha.

According to a statement by the military junta, 2,153 prisoners serving sentences were pardoned "to mark Kasone Full Moon Day," a festival marking the birth of the Buddha.

The prisoners were convicted under Section 505(a) of the penal code, which criminalizes comments that could cause fear or spread false news and is punishable by up to three years in jail.

The military junta said the gesture was meant to "pacify the spirit of the population" and was intended for "humanitarian reasons."

The statement also mentioned that those who violate the law again would have to serve the rest of their sentence with an additional penalty.

More than 21,000 detained since coup
Authorities in Myanmar often announce large-scale amnesties to mark national or Buddhist holidays. In April, the junta had released more than 3,000 prisoners to mark the Buddhist New Year.

More than 21,000 people have been detained since the military coupin 2021 that overthrew the democratically elected government with Aung San Suu Kyi serving as state counsellor. 

The junta has been accused of fierce repression against any voice of dissent and has sentenced at least 170 journalists to prison, according to the UN.

Suu Kyi, 77, is currently serving a 33-year prison term after facing a variety of charges imposed by the military, which her supporters say were contrived to prevent her from participating in politics.

Chinese foreign minister visit
The release announcement came as Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited Myanmar for talks with its military leaders.

On Tuesday, Qin Gang met with junta chief Min Aung Hlaing, marking the highest-profile meeting between a Chinese official and the top general since the coup.

Several Beijing-backed infrastructure projects are slated to run through northern Myanmar linking China's landlocked Yunnan province with the Indian Ocean.

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