The military government in Myanmar says to release 2300 prisoners, including activists and journalists who were imprisoned after the coup d‘etat last February. The first group has left prison by now.
According to a member of the junta, these are prisoners who “participated in protests but not in violence, did not commit crimes and were not in charge of riots.” In total, there are over 5,000 people in a Myanmar cell because they participated in post-coup protests. During the protests, more than 800 people were killed by the regime.
720 prisoners were released today from the infamous Insein prison in Yangon. That’s where almost all political prisoners end up in Myanmar. Many are trapped on the basis of vaguely formulated charges such as disrupting public order or complicating the work of soldiers. It contains two to three year prison sentences.
Why the regime has now chosen to release the prisoners has not been disclosed. It may have to do with the increasing number of corona infections in the country. In overcrowded prisons, the virus can easily grasp around it.
It is also presumably that the regime wants to get a white foot from the international community. Worldwide, the coup and the hard repression of dissidents that followed were condemned. Several countries imposed economic sanctions against Myanmar.
On 18 June, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an arms embargo against Myanmar. That resolution is non-binding.