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Myanmar frees more than 2,000 prisoners held since military coup

On Wednesday, Myanmar freed more than 2,000 detainees that had been held since the coup, which occurred on February 1. The released prisoners include journalists and others that the ruling military had held on incitement charges for their roles in protests. Activists described the release as a ploy by the ruling military to divert attention from an ongoing security crackdown. The army has been pressured by Western countries and its neighbors to release the thousands of protestors. The arrests occurred in the months following the coup when Myanmar saw several deaths as a result of military and law enforcement violence against protestors.

Many of the military’s opponents have been held under a law that criminalizes comments that could spark fear or cause fake news, punishable by up to three years in jail. Former leader Suu Kyi is on trial for a similar offense, among others, and remains in detention as the trial progresses. According to a military spokesman, a total of 2,296 people have been released. The military provided no further comments on their motivation to release the activist and journalist prisoners.

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