10/20/2021 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) – On October 18, the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) set more than 5,000 prisoners freed “on humanitarian grounds.” Three ethnic Kachin pastors were among the 5,000 released on Monday.
Pastor Koshan Singsar (Kachin Baptist Church), Pastor Z Kaw Htinah (Christ Church), and Pastor M Hawng Di (Rawan Baptist Church) were detained on June 28th and later charged for organizing prayers for peace. They could face three years in prison under a penal code which punishes those who spread terror, false news, and subversion against the state or its representatives.
According to UCA News, the trio was among 4,320 people facing trial for their role during protests against the Feb.1 coup but received amnesty from military chief Min Aung Hlaing to mark the lightning festival along with 1,316 others convicted.
Kachin Baptist Convention confirmed the release of these pastors.
The release of prisoners took place a few days after General Min Aung Hlaing was barred from participating in ASEAN summit meeting later this month. Many believe that the Tatmadaw agreed to release the prisoners in the hope that the general can be reconsidered as the legitimate representative of Myanmar.
While the three pastors were released, there are still thousands who are behind bars for their involvement in the anti-coup movement, including religious leaders. Just last month, ethnic Chin pastor Rev. Thian Lian Sang was abducted by the Tatmadaw from his home. His whereabouts is still unknown.
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