Reuters re­porters not among 9,500 pris­on­ers granted amnesty in Myan­mar

Mizzima Business Weekly - - NEW ROUNDUPS -

Myan­mar started re­leas­ing more than 9,500 pris­on­ers on last week as part of its an­nual amnesty mark­ing the coun­try's tra­di­tional new year, but Reuters jour­nal­ists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo will not be in­cluded, said an NGO ad­vo­cat­ing for po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers.

Pres­i­dent Win Myint an­nounced in a state­ment on 17 April the par­dons were granted on hu­man­i­tar­ian grounds dur­ing the Bud­dhist new year fes­ti­val known as Thingyan.

A to­tal of 16 for­eign pris­on­ers are ex­pected to be par­doned and de­ported, while 9,535 lo­cal pris­on­ers are ex­pected to be freed, Win Myint said.

But an NGO that helps po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers said the re­lease will not in­clude Reuters jour­nal­ists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

They were sen­tenced to seven years un­der the Of­fi­cial Se­crets Act af­ter re­port­ing on the mil­i­tary's atroc­i­ties com­mit­ted against the Ro­hingya Mus­lim mi­nor­ity in Rakhine state -work which they re­ceived a Pulitzer prize for on 15 April.

"They will not be in­cluded. We got this in­for­ma­tion from an In­sein prison source," said Bo Kyi, founder of the As­sis­tance As­so­ci­a­tion for Po­lit­i­cal Pris­on­ers (AAPP).

"Jour­nal­ists should not be im­pris­oned... That di­rectly con­tra­dicts with democ­racy."

Reuters also re­ported that Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo were not among those be­ing par­doned.

Ac­cord­ing to AAPP, there are cur­rently 46 po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers in Myan­mar's jails and around 300 oth­ers are fac­ing tri­als linked to po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

By 6 pm (1130 GMT), Bo Kyi told AFP he had re­ceived word of only two po­lit­i­cal pris­on­ers re­leased, and the amnesty process might con­tinue through the next day.

Myan­mar has freed thou­sands from its jails since a mil­i­tary junta ceded power in 2011 af­ter five decades of bru­tal re­pres­sion.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Myanmar

© PressReader. All rights reserved.