Myanmar amnesty ends in tears as regime re-arrests political prisoners
Family and friends wait to greet released prisoners outside Insein Prison on October 19.
Through The Irrawaddy October 21, 2021
At least 110 people, including rock singer Ito, members of the National League for Democracy and anti-regime protesters across the country, were re-arrested by the junta immediately after their release this week.
Ko Win Htut Thawdar, also known as Ito, was taken back to Insein prison in Yangon on Wednesday after returning home on Tuesday evening.
Ito was among hundreds of political prisoners released on junta amnesty after more than a month behind bars. He was arrested in early September at his home on charges of harboring volunteers receiving military training in Shan State and of planning bombings.
Celebrities including actress Eaindra Kyaw Zin and her actor husband Pyay Ti Oo, actor Lu Min, model actor Paing Takhon and singer Po Po who were jailed for anti-regime activism, remain in detention. Their releases were anticipated by both the public and lawyers during the amnesty order.
Coup leader Min Aung Hlaing said on Monday that more than 5,600 people detained or wanted for anti-regime activism would be released or have their arrest warrants canceled.
In his televised speech, he said the releases should be popular with the public for humanitarian and compassionate reasons.
However, reports of re-arrests quickly followed the releases.
“Do they think of other people’s lives and hearts as a toy? Ito’s sister, Win Htut Thara, wrote on social media after her brother’s re-arrest.
She called on others to avoid arrests. “Don’t be happy and relax after going out. Don’t go home. Flee to a safe place.
The wife of an inmate who was arrested again within minutes of his release expressed pain.
Her husband, Ko Thet Paing Htwe, was released Tuesday evening from Insein Prison after being held for more than five months for participating in anti-regime protests in Yangon.
His family members waited to welcome him outside the prison from Monday until his release Tuesday evening.
A relative, wife and relatives greeted him with joy, but the police arrested him again within an hour.
“He was afraid of being arrested again. When we greeted him at the prison he told us to leave quickly and now he has already been taken away, ”she said.
The family have been informed that he should not have been released.
“How could they do that? Could they take this pain if they were in our shoes?” His wife asked.
Several released NLD members were also detained again.
At Meiktila prison in the Mandalay region, 11 of 38 released political prisoners were apprehended at the prison door after being released.
Those arrested again were NLD MP-elect U Lwin Maung Maung and other NLD members and political activists, including members of the Generation 88 student movement.
Ko Thiha Kyaw’s father, who was arrested again in Meiktila, said: “We waited with joy after learning that he was on the list of those released, but only came back with tears.”
NLD sources said Tuesday morning that the 11 people would be charged under the anti-terrorism law with attempted terrorism and contact with terrorist groups, which would result in up to seven years in prison.
The Association for Assistance to Political Prisoners (AAPP), which monitors killings and arrests by junta forces, reported that 110 political prisoners were re-arrested shortly after their release under the amnesty.
The group added that there will be more arrests as some are in hiding or have lost contact.
“If they don’t want to release them, don’t release them. It made families and detainees more depressed and depressed, ”said a relative.
Monday’s amnesty came after ASEAN excluded Min Aung Hlaing from its summit for ignoring the bloc’s call in April to end the violence and hold inclusive talks.
Many saw Monday’s amnesty as an attempt to appease ASEAN.
The AAPP described the releases as a junta tactic to reduce international condemnation.
“These releases will not end the crisis,” AAPP said, calling for the unconditional release of State Councilor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, President U Win Myint and all other political prisoners, and re-establishment of democratically elected leaders in office.
As of October 20, at least 1,181 people had been killed by junta forces and 131 tortured to death, according to the AAPP.
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