under duress, the junta loose ballast

A direct consequence of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) decision not to invite Burmese putschist general Min Aung Hlaing to several summits at the end of the month, the Burmese military regime released on Monday October 18, 5,600 people detained since the coup, of which 4,300 were prosecuted. At least 16 journalists and 24 artists are said to be among them.

A video released by the Associated Press agency showed scenes of joy on Monday night outside the gate of Insein prison in Yangon when a yellow bus came out and prisoners reunited with their loved ones. This release was accompanied by a warning: those who commit an offense again will see the initial charges against them reinstated.

The Myanmar Political Prisoners Assistance Association (AAPP), based in Thailand, has so far counted 7,355 people in detention and claims “To be checking” the number of political detainees released. “During the two previous mass releases”, in April and June, the actual number was lower than announced, the process was never transparent ”, explains a representative.

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ASEAN, which brings together ten countries, announced on October 15, during an emergency meeting of its foreign ministers, that Myanmar (the official name of Burma) would not be represented by a ” Political personality “ at the annual summit on October 26, organized by videoconference by Brunei, and at the East Asia summit on October 28 – a meeting which brings together, in addition to the leaders of ASEAN, those of China, the India, Japan, Russia, Australia and the United States.

In question, according to the press release from Asean, the fact that “Member countries have received a request from NUG [le gouvernement d’unité nationale, formé d’anciens leaders civils et parlementaires en exil] to participate in the summits of October 26 and 28 ” and that“A consensus could not therefore be reached to appoint a political representative”. In this grouping of nations held by the principle of non-interference, the few democratic countries, such as Indonesia and Malaysia, were showing more and more openly their impatience with the junta’s lack of cooperation: on October 6, the minister Malaysian foreign minister Saifuddin Abdullah even said his country was ready to open a dialogue with NUG. In 2008, ASEAN had already intervened with the generals to open Burma to international aid after Cyclone Nargis, and had obtained the release of political prisoners in 2014, before granting its rotating presidency to Thein Sein’s Burma. .

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