Naypyitaw [Myanmar], October 19 (ANI): Myanmar's military freed thousands of people arrested for protesting its February coup under strict conditions on Monday, prompting observers to dismiss the move as a bid to appease the international community at a time when the junta is facing both global and domestic pressure to step down, reported local media.
The junta announced the release of 1,316 prisoners from various facilities throughout the country as well as 4,320 detainees who faced ongoing cases for anti-junta activities, including well-known politicians, celebrities, film actors and journalists. The military also revoked charges against 34 artists and celebrities who are in hiding, reported Radio Free Asia (RFA).
Earlier on June 30, the junta had announced a general amnesty and freed nearly 200 detainees freed from detention across the country.
Yangon's notorious Insein Prison witnessed a heavy crowd on Monday as people gathered around the entrance of the facility to receive their known ones after the announcement of the amnesty.
People were waving toward a bus full of detainees that exited the facility on Monday.
Ngu Wah Khine, a 31-year-old woman, was sentenced to three years in prison last month for donating money to the anti-junta People's Defense Force (PDF) militia. Ngu told RFA that she and her fellow detainees only learned they would be released "moments before" wardens had them line up to leave.
Underlining that she and her inmates heard about the possible release three or four days ago, Ngu said, "But no one inside the prison took it as certain."
Calling the release a chance for prisoners to take part in nation-building, Junta Deputy Information Minister Zaw Min Tun said that people had been released "with certain restrictions".
"The fact is that they were involved (in protests against the coup)," he said, adding, "But for now, as they are our citizens, we made the decision to enable them to participate in nation-building."
Claiming that the release was not due to internal or external pressure Zaw emphasised that some people had been "similarly freed when investigations of their cases had concluded", according to RFA. (ANI)