HomeLatestMyanmar junta to release four foreign prisoners in amnesty

Myanmar junta to release four foreign prisoners in amnesty

Naypyidaw [Myanmar], November 17 (ANI): Myanmar’s military junta will release thousands of prisoners including the former British ambassador to Myanmar and an Australian economist, as part of a prisoner amnesty to mark the country’s National Victory Day, Myanmar Now, a news agency, reported citing state media.

The amnesty will release 5,744 prisoners to mark Myanmar’s National Day. And among them, Sean Turnell, an Australian economist who has been detained since the regime seized power in February 2021, and Vicky Bowman, a former British ambassador to Myanmar who was arrested in August will also be freed from prison.

All the prisoners were detained under Section 505a of the Penal Code for incitement in the wake of last year’s coup.

In late September, Turnell, who was an economic advisor to ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was sentenced to three years in prison under the Official Secrets Act and Immigration Act by a junta-controlled court in the regime’s administrative capital Naypyitaw.

However, Suu Kyi and other senior leaders of her deposed ruling party, the National League for Democracy, were not included in the amnesty, according to Myanmar Now.

Bowman and her husband, Myanmar national Htein Lin, were both handed one-year sentences in September for immigration offences related to the former ambassador’s alleged violation of the terms of her visa. Htein Lin will also be freed under amnesty.

Apart from the former ambassador and economist, two other foreign nationals Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota, who was sentenced last month to ten years in prison for his contact with anti-coup protesters during the making of a documentary, and Kyaw Htay Oo, an American citizen arrested on terrorism charges, will also be freed, according to the Thursday’s announcement.

All four foreigners included in the amnesty will be deported, according to state media reports.

The regime has also dropped charges against 11 Myanmar celebrities convicted in absentia for their role in opposing the military takeover, reported Myanmar Now citing state media reports.

Myanmar’s military continues to face staunch opposition to its rule nearly two years after overthrowing the country’s civilian government. Like previous juntas, the current regime has announced a number of amnesties since seizing power to ease both domestic and international pressure.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the regime has arrested more than 16,232 dissidents since the coup, of whom more than 13,000 remain in junta custody. (ANI)