Monday, 09 December 2019

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Amnesty favored some Shan groups, but not others

Although 40 political prisoners from one particular Shan armed group were released under the amnesty on Tuesday in Myanmar, none of the 50 or so prisoners affiliated with the Shan State Army North was released, said Major Sai Lao Hseng, the spokesman of its lead group, the RCSS/SSA.

SSPP soldiers on parade“As far as we know, none of them were released,” he told Mizzima. “Therefore we have compiled a list of the prisoners’ names and submitted it to the relevant authorities. More than 50 of our troops are being held in Myanmar prisons.”

On May 19, 2012, the RCSS/SSA signed a ceasefire agreement with the Myanmar government in Kengtung, capital of Shan State. One of the main terms of the ceasefire was the release all political prisoners affiliated with the Shan State Army North or the RCSS/SSA. At that time, a list of names was presented to the government delegation, Shan sources said.

Many of those on that list were imprisoned between 1996 and 2012 for treason or for illegal association. Most are being held in Insein, Putao and Kengtung prisons.
Maj. Sai Lao Hseng told Mizzima that release of the prisoners is central to the process of national reconciliation.
Similarly, the Shan State Progress Party/ Shan State Army (SSPP/SSA) confirmed that none of their members were granted amnesty on Tuesday.

Sai Leik, a spokesman for the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy party, said that all 40 Shan people who were released on Tuesday from Thayarwaddy Prison are members of another armed group, the Shan State National Army (SSNA).

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