Prominent Rakhine nationalists among prisoners released in amnesty

Two prominent Rakhine nationalists sentenced to 20 years in prison for sedition have been released as part of a general amnesty announced by Myanmar’s ruling junta on Friday. 

Rakhine political leader Dr. Aye Maung and writer Wai Hin Aung were among 23,000 prisoners freed by the newly installed military council, which seized power on February 1.

Both were arrested in January 2018 for delivering speeches marking the 233rd anniversary of the fall of the Arakan Kingdom at a rally in Rakhine state’s Rathedaung township.

In their speeches, they allegedly advocated the use of armed resistance to regain Rakhine sovereignty.

Initially charged with unlawful assembly, Dr. Aye Maung and Wai Hin Aung were both found guilty in March 2019 of high treason under section 122 of the penal code and incitement under section 505(b).

Dr. Aye Maung, who was a founding member of the Arakan National Party (ANP), later left the party and formed the Arakan Front Party (AFP) in late 2018. 

At the time of his conviction, he was serving as the Pyithu Hluttaw representative for Rakhine state’s Ann township. He was later stripped of his status as a lawmaker.

The ANP has faced a backlash from the Rakhine public for the involvement of one of its leading figures in the new regime.

In a statement released on February 6, the AFP said it had also been offered a position in the military council headed by Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, but declined the invitation.

Dr. Aye Maung could not be reached for comment on his stance on the current political climate and the ongoing protests against the coup.

However, Wai Hin Aung remarked, “I’ve spent the last three years in prison, so it’s difficult for me to comment on what’s happening outside. I’ll have to wait and see.”


Related Articles

Back to top button