Myanmar’s military releases prisoners, retracts court cases following ASEAN decision
Myanmar’s junta government has decided to release prisoners and cancel arrest warrants issued against thousands of people just days after ASEAN announced that it will exclude Myanmar’s representative from future summits.
The regime announced on October 18th that 1,316 people in detention will be released and that 4,320 cases, mostly under the 505(a) clause, will be dropped.
Amongst them, many high-profile individuals who were involved in anti-junta protests, including celebrities, will be released. While there is no definitive list of all those to be released has been issued so far, there are at least 24 people from the entertainment industry and 10 social influencers reportedly among them, along with at least two journalists who have been released with full pardons.
Prior to the release of civilians and political prisoners, the military government had also issued pardons in cases against various ethnic armed forces. General Min Aung Hlaing spoke on live television, complaining that ASEAN is only concentrating on his regime, and not the CRPH nor the NUG (parallel government), regarding acts of violence.
He also claimed that negotiations have been held with the ASEAN’s Special Representative Erywan Yusof, but some of the bloc’s requests are impossible to meet. It is speculated that one such “impossible” request was to have a dialogue with the detained leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar’s netizens, mostly Facebook users, pointed out that the release of prisoners and detainees is simply a ruse to garner favor with international bodies like ASEAN. While people, claiming to be relatives and friends of those released, say that some of the detainees are being surveilled.
Hundreds will reunite with their families, but the future of the whole country remains in jeopardy as armed fighting continues and is escalating in ethnic regions, where many expect the military to engage in full warfare when the monsoon season passes.
by David Tun