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Myanmar junta to release more than 7,000 prisoners on Independence Day: report

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Chief General Min Aung Hlaing thanked his supporters in a speech on the occasion of Myanmar’s 75th Independence Day.

Myanmar’s military government will release 7,012 prisoners as part of an amnesty to mark the country’s Independence Day, state broadcaster MRTV reported on Wednesday, as the junta leader praised some countries for have maintained their support for his nation.

The Southeast Asian country has faced international isolation and Western-imposed sanctions since the military seized power from a democratically elected government led by Nobel laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi almost two years ago.

“I would like to thank some international and regional countries, organizations and individuals who have positively cooperated with us…in the midst of all the pressure, criticism and attacks,” General Min Aung Hlaing said in a speech delivered to the anniversary of Myanmar. 75th independence day.

“We are working closely with neighboring countries such as China, India, Thailand, Laos and Bangladesh. We will work together for border stability and development,” Min Aung Hlaing said during a briefing. speech during a parade in the capital Naypyitaw, accompanied by a flag. waving officials, marching soldiers, tanks and a flypast of military aircraft.

Myanmar has been in chaos since the military seized power from Suu Kyi’s government on February 1, 2021, detained her and other officials and responded to pro-democracy protests and dissent with a brute force, displacing hundreds of thousands of people.

With street protests now rare after bloody crackdowns, the military is involved in almost daily clashes with ethnic minority forces, and insecurity has spread to swaths of the country as members of a so-called People’s Defense Force took up arms to fight for a comeback. to democracy.

Meanwhile, Suu Kyi was recently found guilty of five counts of corruption and imprisoned for a further seven years, concluding a marathon of trials condemned internationally as a sham designed to keep the greatest threat of corruption at bay. the junta amid widespread national resistance to his rule.

Suu Kyi is being held in Naypyitaw prison in solitary confinement and the army insists she has been given due process before an independent tribunal.

Authorities usually release some prisoners to mark the day Myanmar declared independence from British rule.

MRTV said the latest amnesty would not include those convicted of murder and rape, or imprisoned on charges related to explosives, unlawful association, weapons, drugs, natural disaster management and to bribery.

It was not immediately clear whether any political detainees would be released.

The United States, the European Union and countries like Britain and Canada have imposed sanctions on the Burmese military and individuals deemed to have helped the junta take power.

In another rebuke, the UN Security Council last month passed its first resolution on Myanmar in 74 years, demanding an end to violence and the release by the junta of all political detainees.

Referring to international pressure, Min Aung Hlaing denounced what he described as “disruptions by countries and organizations that want to intervene in Myanmar’s internal affairs”.

Still, the junta maintained some international support. The UN Security Council remains divided on how to handle the crisis in Myanmar, with China and Russia opposing strong action. They also abstained in last month’s vote on a resolution, along with India.

Thailand also held regional talks last month to discuss the crisis, including rare international appearances by junta ministers, even as several key members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, who criticized the junta, did not participate.

ASEAN is leading diplomatic peace efforts and Myanmar generals have been barred from high-level bloc rallies for failing to honor promises to start talks with opponents linked to the toppled government of Suu Kyi.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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