Naypyitaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) – The new president of Myanmar announced this morning that more than 8 thousand prisoners will be released under an amnesty. Government sources say that the presidential pardon, signed by the newly elected Win Myint, represents a gesture of peace and is part of the Burmese New Year celebrations.
“In order to bring peace and joy to the hearts of the people, and for humanitarian support, 8,490 prisoners in prisons will be pardoned,” reads a statement released by the presidential office.
Through a post on Facebook, government spokesman Zaw Htay reports that more than 6,000 prisoners who have been convicted of drug-related offenses are affected by the provision. They are joined by almost 2 thousand members of the Myanmar armed forces and police, who are imprisoned under the Military Law or the Police Disciplinary Law.
The amnesty will also cover a total of 36 prisoners belonging to a list provided by a human rights organization, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Aapp). In recent years, hundreds of political prisoners have been released from Myanmar prisons on the occasion of amnesties; dozens of them in April 2016, days after the part of the Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi took power, after almost 50 years of military rule.
The Democratic leader, who has spent years under house arrest, said that freeing the remaining political prisoners remains a top priority. Before the grace announced today, according to the AAPA, 240 political activists were arrested or are awaiting trial in Myanmar.