New Delhi: The military junta in Myanmar has released up to 6,000 prisoners including four foreigners under an amnesty, according to independent news outlet, Myanmar Now.
Former British ambassador Vicky Bowman, Australian economics adviser Sean Turnell and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota “will be released to mark National Day,” a senior officer told the news agency AFP.
Myanmar Now reported that the fourth foreigner to be freed is American botanist Kyaw Htay Oo.
The news outlet cited the military council as saying the pardons were granted specifically because it was Myanmar National Day.
“On National day, the military council announced that almost 6,000 prisoners were released. Among those were four foreigners and 11 celebrities,” the news report said.
BREAKING | The Myanmar regime released imprisoned Australian economist Sean Turnell, former UK ambassador Vicky Bowman and two other foreigners; Japanese filmmaker Toru Kubota & American botanist Kyaw Htay Oo, in an amnesty today. Stay tuned for full story. #Myanmar pic.twitter.com/ZPNKvnDkhG
— Myanmar Now (@Myanmar_Now_Eng) November 17, 2022
In October Kubota was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for filming an anti-government protest in July.
In September a Myanmar court convicted former leader Aung San Suu Kyi and sentenced her adviser Sean Turnell to three years in prison.
Bowman, the former UK ambassador to the country, and her husband, Burmese artist Htein Lin were sentenced to a year in prison in September for breaching immigration rules.
Military junta spokesperson Zaw Min Tun told the Voice of Myanmar and Yangon Media Group on Thursday that the four foreigners were being released and deported.
A junta spokesperson did not answer Reuters‘ phone calls seeking comment. The Australian and Japanese foreign ministries did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Myanmar has been in the political turmoil since the military staged coup last year by arresting civilian leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi in the early morning raids on February 1, 2021.
(With inputs from DW and Reuters)