Myanmar junta: 1,600 to be freed in holiday amnesty - RTHK
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Myanmar junta: 1,600 to be freed in holiday amnesty

2022-04-17 HKT 16:13
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  • Relatives wait for the release of prisoners in front of Yangon’s Insein Prison on Sunday. Photo: AFP
    Relatives wait for the release of prisoners in front of Yangon’s Insein Prison on Sunday. Photo: AFP
Relatives of hundreds of prisoners gathered outside Myanmar's Insein Prison on Sunday after the military government announced the release of 1,600 detainees in an amnesty to mark the Southeast Asian nation's new year.

The number of prisoners released in the annual amnesty was a fraction of last year's 23,000 and it was unclear whether the number would include jailed members of the civilian government overthrown in a coup last year. A local reporter on the scene said no political prisoners had been released so far.

Lieutenant General Aung Lin Dwe, a state secretary of the junta, signed a statement announcing "1,619 prisoners, including 42 detained foreigners, will be released under the Amnesty as part of the celebration of Myanmar's new year, to bring joy for the people and address humanitarian concerns."

The military has arrested at least 13,282 people and killed 1,756 opponents since the coup, according to the Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP), an activist group.

Among those detained are the ousted government's leader, Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who is being held in the capital Naypyidaw, and her Australian economic adviser, Sean Turnell, who is housed in the Insein facility on the outskirts of Yangon.

"The junta uses the political prisoners as hostages," an AAPP spokesman said on Sunday.

A spokesman for the junta, which has disputed AAPP's figures, did not respond to a request for comment. (Reuters)