New Myanmar President, Win Myint, on Tuesday released over 8,000 prisoners to mark the country’s New Year and offered “humanitarian support” to them, a statement on the President’s Office Facebook page said.
According to state media, the list includes 36 political prisoners listed by Myanmar’s Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) and over 6,000 serving drugs-related charges.
The mass amnesty was the first under the National League for Democracy (NLD)-led government, who swept to power in 2016 under the leadership of one-time democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi.
Myanmar president Win Myint took office in March after the abrupt resignation of his predecessor.
Although overshadowed by Suu Kyi, who is barred from the Presidency and rules as state counsellor, observers hoped Win Myint would use his law background to improve rule of law and update right-abusing laws often used to silence journalists and activists.
Myanmar’s AAPP said that as of the end of March, there were a total of 248 political prisoners in the country, 54 serving sentences, 74 awaiting trial inside prison and 120 on bail.
Although welcoming release of political prisoners, AAPP warned that under the presidential amnesty section 401 of the country’s criminal code those released could be re-arrested without a warrant.