May 24, 2017 Amnesty Statement
May 26, 2017
Ahead of the second 21 st Panglong Peace Conference, it was announced on May 24 that there has been another mass amnesty, the second amnesty of this year following the release of 1,883 criminal prisoners one day before the beginning of the thingyan festival. The first amnesty of 2017 saw the release of zero political prisoners, whereas the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) are extremely happy to announce that on May 24, there were a total of 80 political prisoners released. The majority of those released faced sentences under Section 17/1 of the 1908 Unlawful Association Act.
AAPP welcome this release of political prisoners however AAPP would like to make it clear, that there is still a total number of 40 political prisoners as defined by AAPP remaining in prison, and 198 facing trial. Burma cannot claim to be truly democratic until the last political prisoner is freed.
While the amnesty on May 24 is a positive step, and the release of any individual incarcerated for political activism is only ever positive, arrests and sentencing of individuals deemed to be anti-government continues. As a result, AAPP urges the Government to:
- Immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners as documented by AAPP
- Immediately adopt AAPP’s definition of political prisoners.
- As a priority re-establish the Political Prisoner Review Committee, and
- As a priority review and amend/ repeal repressive legislation which allows for the arrest and incarceration of political activists.
Assistance Association for Political Prisoners