Myanmar releases more than 2,000 political dissidents

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By Webdesk

The army, which has used force to quell opposition to his rule, says the amnesty is for “humanitarian” reasons.

Myanmar’s generals say they have pardoned more than 2,000 political prisoners on the occasion of Wesak, a major Buddhist holiday.

The military said 2,153 people imprisoned for “sedition” would be released on “humanitarian grounds,” Myanmar Now reported Wednesday, citing a statement signed by Military Council secretary Lt. Gen. Aung Lin Dwe.

The Myanmar army has brutally crushed its opponents and detained thousands since it seized power from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi in February 2021.

Those charged with sedition face three years in prison.

It was not clear when the prisoners would be released, but relatives gathered outside Insein Prison in Yangon, where many political prisoners are held, hoping for their release. Thursday is Wesak Day, Buddha’s birthday.

The military often announces amnesty during major holidays.

It released more than 3,000 prisoners last month to celebrate the traditional New Year, but did not specifically say that those released would include political prisoners.

The latest amnesty came a day after Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang visited Myanmar and held talks with coup leader Min Aung Hlaing, making him the highest-ranking Chinese official to visit the country since the military seized power more than two years ago. .

China’s state broadcaster CGTN reported that Qin told Min Aung Hlaing that Beijing attached “great importance” to its “friendship” with Myanmar, adding that the two men agreed to “further promote a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries”.

Violence following the coup has only escalated in recent months, with armed resistance taking root in many parts of the country and the military resorting to airstrikes that have left civilians, including children, dead.

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