Why Myanmar Released Political Prisoners Suddenly?
Myanmar– Thousands of those who had been imprisoned over revolt against the military takeover in Myanmar, have been freed. In an amnesty, 5600 people were freed minutes after the military ruler of Myanmar, General Min Aung Hlaing made a speech.
This development comes in the wake of the junta leader’s exclusion from participation in the ASEAN summit. Last week itself, it was decided that the Southeast Asian foreign ministers would not approve of Malaysian participation in the ASEAN summit. They downgraded Myanmar’s participation in an upcoming summit as their way to show their sharpest rebuke of the way Myanmar’s democracy was mocked on and a Feb. 1 a military coup was conducted.
It was also decided that they would invite a non-political representative instead of Myanmar’s military leader, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing. This was decided after the 10-member committee could see pressure building from across the world over it to take a stand. Also, it made most sense when ASEAN foreign ministers had to hold an emergency meeting after Myanmar refused to cooperate with the bloc’s crisis envoy, Brunei Second Foreign Minister Erywan Yusof.
Those released include mostly political prisoners who have been held captive since February 2021. UN special rapporteur Tom Andrews issued a tweet welcoming the release but said it was “outrageous” that they were detained in the first place. Meanwhile, many political leaders think that this is just a way for Myanmar to win brownie points and claim legitimacy to its military candidature.
Since the military coup, security forces have reportedly killed more than 1,100 people. Official numbers are not ascertained because of temporary break in internet access in the initial months of junta rule. They have arrested more than 9,000 people including Ms Suu Kyi, according to rights group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, which documents killings and arrests. Under Ms Kyi, Myanmar was looking at getting some semblance of a democratic government after two decades of protest against elitist military rule. But the attempt has been at knots end since February 2021.