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Junta Refuses To Release Political Prisoners in Kachin State

Myitkyina Prison

The military council didn’t release any Kachin political prisoners or journalists detained since the coup when freeing 2,296 prisoners across the country last week. Although the junta released political prisoners and reporters from other states and regions, it only let prisoners charged with drug offences or other crimes out of jail in Kachin State.

“We waited in front of the prison in Bhamo because we heard authorities would release political prisoners from prisons, but my son was not released on June 30,” the youth’s mother explained to KNG.

A resident from Mohnyin town who waited outside of the jail on Wednesday said the junta didn’t let anyone go last Wednesday.

In Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin State, the military council freed 140 people.

Since the military staged a military coup five months ago, it detained many activists in Kachin State for opposing its rule and journalists for reporting on the civil unrest.

The junta is still holding journalists Ma Chan Bu, Ma Myo Myat Myat Pan, Ko Ah Jay, Ko Christopher, Ko La Raw, Ko Nawng Yo, Ko Zaw Win Maung and Joe Phyu from Myitkyina, Hpakant and Bhamo.

The military council didn’t release teachers La Ngan Lum Nor and Aye Thida, who joined the protest movement in Mohnyin. It also didn’t release prominent artists Ko Lum Zawng and Ma Seng Nu Pan in Myitkyina or the Lisu artist Ko Yaw Tepher. Ko Lwin Ko Chit, the leader of the Sanay Volunteer team in Bhamo, is also still in jail.

According to the advocacy group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the junta arrested, charged or sentenced 5,086 people across Burma between February 1 to July 3. Of these charges, the military council convicted 233 people. There are many trials still pending.

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