World

Myanmar pardons 23,047 prisoners, unclear if activists among them

PTI Yangon | Updated on April 17, 2021

Prisoner releases customary during major holidays; this is second time the junta has pardoned prisoners after the latest coup

Myanmar's junta on Saturday announced it pardoned and released more than 23,000 prisoners to mark the new year holiday, but it wasn't immediately clear if they included pro-democracy activists who were detained in the wake of the February coup.

The release was announced on state broadcaster MRTV, which said that the military leader Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing pardoned the 23,047 prisoners, including 137 foreigners who will be deported from Myanmar. He also reduced sentences for others.

Also read: Myanmar ambassador to UK says he is locked out of embassy

Early prisoner releases are customary during major holidays, but this is the second time the ruling junta has done so since it overthrew the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, triggering daily protests, arrests and deaths by security forces.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which monitors casualties and arrests, government forces have killed at least 726 protesters and bystanders since the takeover. The group says 2,728 people, including Suu Kyi, are in detention.

Following the release of more than 23,000 convicts to mark Union Day on February 12, there were reports on social media that some were recruited by the authorities to carry out violence at night in residential areas to spread panic, especially by setting fires. Some areas responded by setting up their own neighbourhood watch groups.

Published on April 17, 2021

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

  1. Comments will be moderated by The Hindu Business Line editorial team.
  2. Comments that are abusive, personal, incendiary or irrelevant cannot be published.
  3. Please write complete sentences. Do not type comments in all capital letters, or in all lower case letters, or using abbreviated text. (example: u cannot substitute for you, d is not 'the', n is not 'and').
  4. We may remove hyperlinks within comments.
  5. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name, to avoid rejection.