Myanmar’s military has pardoned more than 1,600 detainees from Insein Prison on the occasion of the country’s New Year. This is a fraction of the 23,000 prisoners released a year ago for the same reason.
It is not known whether members of the government that was ousted early last year will also be released. A reporter on the ground told Reuters news agency that no political prisoners have been released from Insein Prison so far.
Dozens are waiting in front of the prison in the hope that there will be relatives among the released prisoners. The military council said in a statement that a total of 1,619 detainees will receive an amnesty. Among them, 42 are foreigners. It is not clear where these prisoners come from.
Thousands of political prisoners
The notorious prison in the north of Yangon has held thousands of political prisoners since the military staged a coup early last year. Earlier this month, it was announced that 14 drawings had been smuggled out of prison. They gave a rare look at daily life in prison.
The military has arrested at least 13,282 people and killed 1,756 dissidents since the coup, according to AAPP, an organization that monitors the situation of political prisoners in Myanmar.
Democratically elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi is one of those arrested. She is being held in the capital, Naypyidaw. It is unclear whether prisoners from other prisons will be released.
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