| 27 May 2024, Monday |

Myanmar junta to release 700 prisoners from Yangon’s Insein jail

Myanmar’s authorities will release roughly 700 convicts from Yangon’s Insein jail on Wednesday, according to prison superintendent Zaw Zaw, who expects the release to include some of the tens of thousands of people incarcerated for protesting military rule.

The prison chief stated he didn’t have a list of those being released, but BBC Burmese language news indicated that it will include individuals charged with incitement for speaking out against the coup.

Photographs on social media showed a gathering gathered outside the Insein prison, a colonial-era institution on the outskirts of Yangon’s commercial hub, prior of the release.

The Myanmar Now news portal reported that across the country about 2,000 prisoners would be released. A prisons department official declined to comment.

Since the junta deposed Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected administration on Feb. 1, authorities have faced daily strikes that have stalled official and commercial activity, as well as ethnic insurgencies that have plagued Myanmar for decades.

Many people have been arrested under Section 505A of the penal code, which makes it illegal to make statements that could induce terror or distribute false information and can result in a three-year prison sentence.

According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, more than 5,200 people are detained. It also claims that 883 people have been slain, a figure that the junta disputes.

On Tuesday, the army run Myawaddy television said authorities had dropped charges against 24 celebrities who had been declared wanted under the anti-incitement law after anti-government comments.

Actors, sportspeople, social media influencers, doctors and teachers have been among hundreds of people listed as wanted for opposing the junta.

Since the military ousted her elected civilian administration, Suu Kyi, 76, and other members of her National League for Democracy (NLD) party have been detained in detention.

She is suspected of bribery, breaking coronavirus protocols, illegally holding two-way radios, and incitement to commit crimes against the state, among other charges, which her defenders deny.

The military said it took power after accusing Suu Kyi’s party of rigging the election that brought it to office in November, though the electoral commission dismissed its claims at the time. The NLD claimed victory in a fair manner.

  • Reuters