UN secretary general urges Myanmar military to release all ‘arbitrarily detained’ prisoners

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United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is reiterating calls for Myanmar to release all who have been “arbitrarily detained” in the aftermath of the February military-led coup, including deposed leader Aung San Suu Kyi and former president Win Myint. 

Eri Kaneko, a spokesperson for Guterres, said in a statement Thursday, “We remain deeply concerned at the continuation of violence and intimidation, including arbitrary arrests, by the security forces,” according to Reuters

“We reiterate our call for the immediate release of all of those who are arbitrarily detained, and that includes President Win Myint and State councilor Aung San Suu Kyi,” Kaneko added. 

The demand comes a day after Myanmar released more than 2,000 activists and journalists who had been detained during protesting or reporting on the military coup. 

Deputy Information Minister Maj. Gen. Zaw Min Tun had previously told Chinese state media that the Myanmar military would release “those are who took part in the protests but did not take part in the violence, who did not commit crimes and did not lead the riots.” 

However, Suu Kyi and Myint remain in the custody of the Myanmar military months after they were forced out over allegations without evidence that the country’s election held late last year was riddled with fraud. 

Allies said early last month that Suu Kyi and Myint had been moved from their homes in the nation’s capital to an “unknown location” following a court appearance for various corruption charges against the two officials. 

Other people who participated in protests against the February coup also remain in prison in Myanmar, though the exact number in police custody is unclear. 

The international community has continued to condemn the coup and subsequent actions by the Myanmar military to quell dissent and protests, with President Biden imposing sanctions against military leaders involved in the deposition and businesses with alleged ties to the regime. 

In June, the UN General Assembly voted to officially condemn the coup, passing a resolution calling on countries to participate in an arms embargo as punishment over the military’s actions. 

While Myanmar military leaders have said that they plan to hold new democratic elections, they have not explicitly said when they will take place. 

According to the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), more than 230,000 people have been displaced as a result of ongoing violence and conflict in Myanmar, with the Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) recording at least 877 deaths and more than 6,000 arrests since the coup.

Tags Joe Biden Military coup Myanmar Myanmar coup Myanmar military Reuters United Nations United Nations General Assembly

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