Myanmar Junta has granted over 2,000 political prisoners amnesty to mark a Buddhist holiday on Wednesday, 3rd May, with families rushing to prisons in tearful reunions with loved ones jailed in a sweeping crackdown on opposition figures and dissenters.
The military had arrested thousands of rioters and activists since the February 2021 coup that ended Myanmar’s democratic government.
According to the Junta, the amnesty was granted to “2,153 prisoners serving sentences under Penal Code 505 (a) to mark Kasone Full Moon Day,” a festival marking the birth of the Buddha.
The military government council said in a statement that the pardon was given “for the peaceful mind of the people and on humanitarian grounds.”
However, it added that “those who re-offend will have to serve the remainder of their sentence with an additional penalty.”
Reports have it that some 50 people gathered outside Yangon’s sprawling colonial-era Insein prison following the announcement.
More than 21,000 people have been arrested since the military ousted Aung San Suu Kyi’s government, according to a local monitoring group, including Suu Kyi, who was detained since the coup began. According to the UN, this number includes at least 170 journalists.