Burma President Set 8,000 Prisoners Free In New Year Amnesty

More than 8,000 detainees are to be liberated in Burma (Myanmar) after the recently named president conceded a pardon on Tuesday in an offer to “convey peace and joy to individuals’ heart.”

The presidential absolve, marked by recently chose President Win Myint, was conceded to 8,490 Burmese natives and 51 nonnatives. It likewise incorporates an announced 36 political detainees as an indication of cooperative attitude and to pull in helpful help. It didn’t determine when the reprieve would occur.

“To bring peace and pleasure to people’s heart, and for the sake of humanitarian support, 8,490 prisoners from respective prisons will be given the pardon,” the Presidential Office said in a statement on their Facebook page.

The amnesty only covered prisoners who had already been convicted of crimes, meaning two Reuters reporters, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, currently facing trial for possessing secret official documents, were not among those on the list.

Over 6,000 prisoners who were sentenced under drug-related charges would be included in the pardon, according to a Facebook post by government spokesman Zaw Htay.

Nearly 2,000 members of Burma’s military and police force, who were jailed under the Military Act or Police Disciplinary Act, would be freed, Zaw Htay wrote. He did not elaborate.

Hundreds of political prisoners have been released from Burma’s jails in amnesties in recent years, including dozens freed in April 2016, days after de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party took power following nearly 50 years of military rule.

After spending years under house arrest during military power, the Nobel laureate made national reconciliation her top priority once she was elected. But the high expectations of greater freedoms for all have been dampened somewhat after activists and critics of the military have since been imprisoned.

Burma’s constitution obliges Suu Kyi’s civilian government to share power with the powerful military, which controls key cabinet posts including law and order and security.

“We submitted a list of 44 political prisoners and now 36 are released…This amnesty is very good news and we welcome and support it,” said the Burma representative for Assistance Association for Political Prisoners’ (AAPP), Aung Myo Kyaw.

“But there should not be a single political prisoner in a democratic country,” he said. “It will be better if remaining political prisoners and also those who are still facing charges were pardoned.”

Suu Kyi has said that releasing the remaining political prisoners was a top priority.

Prior to Tuesday’s pardon, there were 240 political activists jailed or awaiting trial in Burma, according to AAPP.

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