Military Council Releases 22 Prisoners In Karenni State

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By Kantarawaddy Times

The junta has released twenty-two political prisoners from prison in Loikaw as part of a mass amnesty that saw many people freed across the country last week.

The regime leader Sen-Gen Min Aung Hlaing claimed to have released more than 5,000 prisoners, but it’s difficult to say how many people have actually been released. In addition, the armed forces immediately re-arrested some of those released, including members of the National League for Democracy from the previous government and some celebrities.

According to a youth who was among 4 women and 18 men freed in the Karenni State capital on 19 October, two people are still in jail with charges pending. Although the regime dropped the charges against them of incitement under Article 505 (a), they face charges of possession of weapons under Article 19 (e).

He said the charges of incitement were dropped against everyone else. Armed forces had arrested them for protesting against the dictatorship that overthrew the democratically elected government in a bloodless coup on 1 February.

The Karenni youth was arrested on 29 April for putting up posters against the dictatorship and held for over five months. ”I’ve met many people who were arrested by soldiers and police during the protests in Loikaw prison. Actually, they’re innocent. They haven’t committed any crimes,” he told Kantarawaddy Times.

The release of the prisoners came after the Association of Southeast Asian Nations decided not to allow Min Aung Hlaing from attending its summit because the regime wasn’t complying with an agreement signed in April in which it pledged to end violence in the country. The 10-member bloc said it would accept a non-political representative from Burma.

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