Myanmar grants pardons to 2,153 political prisoners to mark Buddhist holy daytext_fields
Yangon: Myanmar's State Administration Council pardoned more than 2,000 prisoners as a humanitarian gesture on Wednesday to mark an important Buddhist holy day of the year with families rushing to prisons for tearful reunions with loved ones jailed in a sweeping crackdown on dissent.
Myanmar’s ruling military council said it was releasing more than 2,100 political prisoners as a humanitarian gesture. The prisoners who were pardoned on Wednesday are those who have been convicted of incitement under Section 505 (a) Penal Code, the council said.
State-run MRTV television reported that the head of Myanmar’s military council, Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, had pardoned 2,153 prisoners on the most important Buddhist holy day of the year, marking the birth, enlightenment and death of Buddha.
Section 505 (a) Penal Code prohibits causing fear, spreading false news, and agitating directly or indirectly, criminal offences against a government employee, reports Xinhua news agency.
Thousands more remain imprisoned on charges generally involving nonviolent protests or criticism of military rule, which began when the army seized power in February 2021 from the elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi.
About 50 people gathered outside Yangon's sprawling, colonial-era Insein prison following the announcement.
On April 17, Myanmar pardoned more than 3,000 prisoners to mark its traditional New Year's Day.
More than 21,000 protestors and activists have been arrested since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi's government, plunging the country into turmoil. At least 170 journalists have been arrested during that span, according to the United Nations.
Suu Kyi has been detained since the early hours of the coup.
In December, the junta wrapped up a series of closed-court trials of the 77-year-old Nobel Peace laureate, jailing her for a total of 33 years in a process rights groups have condemned as a sham.
More than 3,400 people have been killed in the military's crackdown on dissent since the coup, according to a monitoring group.
With inputs from agencies