Total political prisoners released in HURFOM areas

July 1, 2021

Mawlamyine: HURFOM is relieved that some political prisoners in our target areas of #Karen #Mon #Dawei were released yesterday. However, many more remain behind bars for their pro-democracy activities. Peaceful protest is not a crime and yet the junta locks up anyone who defies their rule.

Analysis

On30 June, the junta announced there would be over 2,000 prisoners released from various prisons around the country. Most families were made aware of the news through social media and word of mouth. They came to wait outside the prisons, some as early as 5 AM. In the midst of a worsening public health crisis in Burma, they spent the day hopeful that familiar faces of loved ones would greet them as they walked through the gates. Journalists and rights defenders – who should have never been imprisoned – were released, including several charged under sections of the Penal Code.

In HURFOM target areas, very few political activists and rights defenders were among those released. Our fieldworkers have been speaking with civilians impacted by the junta’s violence and lawlessness. Families are distraught as they worry about the safety of sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, and friends who are taken away in handcuffs. Many do not know where those arrested have been detained.

HURFOM calls for the immediate and unconditional release of all those detained. Their unlawful arrests speak to the fear the junta is trying to evoke, and it must not be tolerated.

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