Myanmar govt spokesman denies state media report that Inn Din soldiers were released from prison

Screenshot of the MNTV report obtained by Central News Bureau.
Screenshot of the MNTV report obtained by Central News Bureau.

Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay has denied a report that seven soldiers were released in this week’s presidential amnesty, just days after they were convicted for murdering 10 Rohingya men last year.

The news of the soldiers’ alleged release was first reported by state-run broadcaster MNTV this afternoon. A presenter said the seven soldiers who participated in the Inn Din massacre last September had been freed from Sittwe Prison. However, the video clip of that report was quickly removed from MNTV’s social media pages.

About an hour later, government spokesman Zaw Htay tweeted that the report about the seven soldiers’ release was “wrong.”

A screenshot of the MNTV broadcast showing more than 10 men, one of whom was in uniform, has left some viewers wondering if the report may have offered a clue into the identities of some of the convicted soldiers, who have previously not been identified.

The seven soldiers were sentenced to 10 years each in prison for violating Article 71 of the Defence Services Act by committing the civilian crime of murder, Myanmar’s military announced on April 11.

More than 8,000 prisoners were released from prisons across Myanmar in a presidential amnesty on Tuesday, timed to coincide with the Thingyan new year festival. Most of the freed prisoners were drug offenders, though 36 were political prisoners.

Not among the emancipated were Reuters reporters Kyaw Soe Oo and Wa Lone, who remain on trial for investigating the massacre for which the seven soldiers were found guilty of perpetrating.

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