Myanmar to free over 8,000 prisoners in new-year amnesty

17 Apr 2018, 13:09

File Photo: Reuters

Yangon: Myanmar’s new president said on Tuesday over 8,000 prisoners will be freed in an amnesty, a move the government said would bring about humanitarian support amid the country’s political reforms after decades of military rule.

The presidential pardon, signed by newly-elected President Win Myint, said the move was aimed to bring peace as part of celebrations of the Myanmar new year. It did not specify when the amnesty would take place.

‘To bring peace and pleasure to people’s heart, and for the sake of humanitarian support, 8,490 prisoners from respective prisons will be given the pardon,’ the Presidential Office said in a statement.

Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi has made ending near-perpetual civil war to bring national reconciliation her top priority. Her ruling National League for Democracy took office in 2016 amid sky-high expectations of greater freedoms after nearly half a century of military rule.

Two Reuters reporters jailed in Myanmar were not included in the amnesty, according to Min Tun Soe, spokesman of Myanmar Prisons Department, citing ongoing legal proceedings.

A court in Yangon has been holding preliminary hearings since January to decide whether the pair will be charged under the colonial-era Officials Secrets Act, which carries a maximum pe