Students protest the military takeover by the State Administrative Council in February as they march in Kyauktada Township in Yangon, Myanmar, on July 7, 2021. (Photo: AP / File)
YANGON: Myanmar’s junta chief announced Monday (October 18) the release of more than 5,000 people who had been detained for protests against a coup in February, days after a regional bloc had inflicted a major snub on the military regime.
There has been chaos in Myanmar since the coup. According to a local surveillance group, more than 1,100 civilians were killed in bloody crackdown on dissenting opinions and more than 8,000 were arrested.
Junta chief Min Aung Hlaing said a total of 5,636 prisoners will be released to mark the Thadingyut festival in late October The announcement follows ASEAN’s decision to exclude Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming 10-country bloc summit because of his government’s commitment to defuse the bloody crisis.
Min Aung Hlaing did not provide any information on who would be included and the prison authorities did not respond to AFP requests for comment.
The Myanmar authorities released more than 2,000 anti-coup protesters from prisons across the country in June, including journalists who are critical of the military government.
One of the people still in custody is the American journalist Danny Fenster, de r since his arrest on the 24th.
More than 1,300 of those about to be released would be released on condition that they sign agreements promising not to reoffend, said Min Aung Hlaing.
Such agreements are « basically a form of probation that involves constant threatening surveillance, » David Mathieson, a former Myanmar-based analyst, told AFP the junta calls itself) not from nine months of extreme violence. «
The foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations decided on Friday to expel Min Aung Hlaing and instead have a » non-political representative « for Myanmar at the summit on March 26-28. October. The bloc, widely criticized as a toothless organization, took a firm stand after the junta asked for a special envoy to meet with “all interests in Myanmar – a phrase that includes overthrown civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The ASEAN statement noted « insufficient progress » in implementing a five-point plan proposed by ASEAN leaders agreed in April to end the post-coup unrest.
The junta criticized the decision, accusing ASEAN of violating its policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of member states.
Myanmar has been since was largely ruled by the military in a 1962 coup, ASEAN has been a thorn in the side since joining in 1997.
The government of Min Aung Hlaing justified its seizure of power with alleged electoral rigging in last year’s elections, which the Aung San Suu Kyi won the National League for Democracy (NLD) party convincingly.
The coup destroyed Myanmar’s short-lived alliance with democracy, as did 76-year-old Aung San Suu Kyi is now facing a series of charges in a junta court that could imprison her for decades.
Last week, her chief attorney said the junta had banned him from speaking to journalists, diplomats or international organizations.
The other lawyers on their legal team were also faced with a similar ban, effectively silencing the most important sources of information about legal proceedings from which journalists are excluded.
Nobel Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, one of them Who has spent much of her life defying the Myanmar generals is set to testify for the first time in court at the end of this month.
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