Tuesday, Win Myint, newly elected president of Myanmar gave directive for the release of prisoner to mark the country’s New Year. Report said that over 8,000 prisoners were discharged by the president for the New Year celebration and he also offered “humanitarian support” to them.
This was revealed by statement on the president’s official facebook page. According to state media, the list of prison inmates included 36 political prisoners listed by Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and over 6,000 serving drugs-related charges.
The mass amnesty was the first under the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government, who swept to power in 2016 under the leadership of one-time democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
The newly elected Myanmar president took office in March after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor.
Although overshadowed by Suu Kyi, who is barred from the Presidency and rules as state counsellor, observers hoped Win Myint would use his law background to improve rule of law and update right-abusing laws often used to silence journalists and activists.
According to the Myanmar’s AAPP, he said that as of the end of March, there were a total of 248 political prisoners in the country, 54 serving sentences, 74 awaiting trial inside prison and 120 on bail.
Although welcoming release of political prisoners, AAPP warned that under the presidential amnesty section 401 of the country’s criminal code those released could be re-arrested without a warrant.