Myanmar Military Does The RIght Thing For A Change: Frees Journalists and Others From Prison

Recently, the ruling military released more than 2,000 prisoners, including journalists and others detained on incitement charges for participating in protests.
Activists described the release as an attempt by the ruling military to divert attention from an ongoing security crackdown.
Since overthrowing Aung San Suu Kyi’s elected government on February 1, Western countries and Myanmar’s neighbors have been pressing the army to release thousands of people detained during protests.
Military opponents have been jailed for spreading false news and spreading comments that caused fear under a law that punishes them for up to three years in prison. The trial for Suu Kyi, among others, is currently in progress.
According to Zaw Min Tun, a military spokesman, most of those freed had been charged with inciting protests.
Two thousand two hundred and ninety-six people have been released from prison. They participated in protests but did not play a leading role. “They did not engage in violent behavior,” he told the Irrawaddy website.
Further comment from Zaw Min Tun could not be obtained.
On social media, videos showed mostly young detainees getting off buses outside Yangon’s colonial-era Insein prison and waving and hugging family members who wept.
Several videos showed buses leaving the jail’s rear entrance with passengers leaning from windows and waving at small crowds gathered outside.
Despite daily protests and paralyzing strikes, the military has struggled to impose order since it took power.
Insurgencies that have plagued Myanmar for decades have flared up again and angry civilians have taken up arms against security forces.
Zaw Zaw, chief of Insein Prison, had earlier told Reuters that 700 people would be released without providing an explanation. He did not respond to subsequent calls for comment.
Myanmar Now reports reporter Kay Zon Nway was released after 124 days charged with incitement.
In a text message, Swe Win, Myanmar Now’s editor-in-chief said, “Like many other political detainees, she was unfairly arrested. But today, I’m glad to see her again in good spirits.”
According to the Irrawaddy, six journalists were freed.
MRTV did not mention the release in its nightly newscast.
Countries in the West have called for the release of political prisoners and condemned the military takeover. In April, Myanmar’s neighbors urged its military rulers to initiate dialogue, stop violence, and release detainees.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), a non-profit based in Thailand, asserted that the mass release was intended to give the impression that the military’s crackdown had eased.
The statement said, “Today’s events are intended to give the impression that the junta’s oppression has abated. This is not the case.”
According to AAPP, more than 5,200 people are being held. The report also says 883 people have been killed, a figure that has been challenged by the military, which has blamed the unrest on “terrorists” among Suu Kyi supporters. Reuters has been unable to confirm the numbers.
Myawaddy television reported Tuesday that authorities had dropped charges against 24 celebrities on wanted lists under the anti-incitement law.
Salai Za Uk Ling of the Chin Human Rights Organization, which is opposed to the military takeover in Chin state, said the release was “quite meaningless” and intended to please the international community.
People are still being arrested daily in Chin state and elsewhere in Myanmar, he said. Reuters was not able to confirm his statement immediately.
“We will still face this problem until they stop the unlawful arrests,” he added. There will be no sense of security in people’s homes.”

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