Junta re-arrests over 100 released protesters


The country’s military junta has re-arrested more than 100 anti-coup protesters freed in a recent amnesty, according to a local monitoring group that tracks detentions and killings in the country.

The South-East Asian nation has been in chaos since the February coup, with more than 1,100 killed in a crackdown on dissent and over 8,000 arrested, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

On Monday, the military announced that it would free more than 5,000 people over the three-day Buddhist Thadingyut festival, sending anxious families rushing to jails in the hope of being reunited with their loved ones.

The true number of those released across the country is difficult to verify, and many were freed only after signing documents promising not to re-offend.

At least 110 of those pardoned have since been re-arrested.

“Some were... re-arrested as soon as they arrived home,” it said in a statement on Thursday.

“Some others were told they were on the released list and taken to the jail entrance, only to be taken back to prison in the face of additional charges.”

Those still in custody include American journalist Danny Fenster.The most recent amnesty comes with the military under increasing pressure to engage with its opponents, nearly nine months after seizing power.

Last week, Asean decided to exclude junta leader Min Aung Hlaing from an upcoming summit of the 10-country bloc over doubts about his commitment to defusing the bloody crisis.

The United States welcomed the rare move by Asean, Derek Chollet, counsellor of the State Department, told reporters on Thursday. — AFP

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