The de-registered Shan Nationalities League for Democracy (SNLD) has denounced the 64th Independence Day celebrations as a meaningless exercise following clemency announcement for prisoners Naypyitaw two days earlier.
According to the announcement:
- Death sentences have been commuted to life
- Those with more than 30 years to serve will be serving “up to 30 years”
- Those facing 20-30 years will be serving “up to 20 years”
- Those with less than 20 years will have their sentences reduced by 25%
“None of the long-sentenced prisoners like Hkun Tun Oo, Sai Nyunt Lwin, Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi and Rev U Gambira are among those freed,” said Sai Lake.
According to Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), only 34 political prisoners were among some 600 released.
“The present government has not been keeping its promise,” he continued. “It is handling the national unity issue in a penny-pinching way. This doesn’t augurs well either for democracy or national reconciliation.”
Well-known activist and comedian Zarganar meanwhile wrote in his Fcaebook: I once likened the situation of my friends in jail as being in the hands of Somali pirates. I now withdraw this comment. The Somali pirates keep their promise.
“The people of Burma have yet enjoy the fruits of Independence after 64 years,” he concluded.
Hkun Tun Oo, whose SNLD party won the most seats in Shan State in 1990, was sentenced in 2005 to 93 year imprisonment, his secretary Sai Nyunt Lwin, 85 years, and 5 others, 79 years each.