Myanmar military regime pledges release of 5 600 people arrested during its rule

In Myanmar, where in early 2021 the national military seized power, the leadership of the military junta has announced plans to release over 5 600 people from places of detention. The announcement came after the junta leader Min Aung Hlaing was not invited to a summit of a powerful inter-governmental organisation, British news portal The Guardian reports.
A total of 5,600 people arrested or subject to arrest warrants for taking part in anti-coup protests since the military seized power on February 1 would be released, it was announced on state TV on Monday, October 18.
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Late into the evening the first of the prisoners were released. It was not immediately clear how long it would take for all those scheduled for release to be freed.
More than 7,300 political prisoners – including medics, elected politicians, journalists and protesters – are being held by the military regime in Myanmar, according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) Burma, an advocacy group that tracks the arrests. In cases where the military’s targets cannot be found, security forces have instead abducted their relatives, including children, the UN special rapporteur for the country, Tom Andrews, stated in September.
Many rushed immediately to find out if their relatives or friends would be released following the announcement. The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), which has led international efforts to negotiate, agreed a five-point plan with the military to de-escalate the crisis in April. This included an agreement that Asean would send an envoy, Brunei’s second foreign minister, Erywan Yusof, to the country to mediate. However, he cancelled his trip this week after the military announced he would not be permitted to meet Aung San Suu Kyi.
The bloc decided to exclude the junta chief, Min Aung Hlaing, from its upcoming summit, which will be attended by US President Joe Biden, due to the lack of progress, The Guardian reports.