A Progressive Karenni People’s Force (PKPF) official said that a total of 13 prisoners, including 11 who were imprisoned under articles 505 (a) and 19 (f) of the political law that criminalize criticism of the military regime, were released from Loikaw Prison on January 4th.
“Today is Independence Day,” the PKPF official said. “The regime is trying to use the release of political prisoners as a way to ease international pressure and gain a good reputation internationally. Thirteen people were released from Loikaw Prison, including two women. As for the 11 men, they were abducted for pro-democracy activities.”
The prisoners were released around one o’clock in the afternoon. Among the 11 political prisoners who were released, 10 were under Article 505 (a) and 1 under Article 19 (f) and had been sentenced to three years in prison, he said. The two women were imprisoned for other crimes.
The PKPF official said that some of the political prisoners who were released had been abducted by the regime and imprisoned during the protests, and some who were imprisoned because of participation in the Civil Disobedience Movement.
A close family member of one of the prisoners said that the female prisoners were not political in nature, and did not receive proper medical treatment in prison.
“The women suffered a lot. Regarding medical treatment, non-CDM nurses came in and administered sleeping pills and injections. Family members started to talk about the pain they were suffering with these drugs. The detainees’ rights have been violated in terms of health,” the family member said.
According to the list kept by the PKPF, around 280 political prisoners were abducted and imprisoned by the military junta in Loikaw Prison after the coup, and only around 20 have been released so far.
As the military junta commemorates Independence Day, the junta’s propaganda television outlet, MRTV, announced that 7,012 prisoners had been released, though that remains to be verified by reliable sources. Only a minority of those were political prisoners; the majority remain in junta prisons. The junta propaganda claimed that remaining political prisoners will have their sentences reduced.