05/04/2023 Myanmar (International Christian Concern) –On May 3, the day that Myanmar celebrates Vasak, a Buddhist sacred day, the ruling military junta freed 2,135 political prisoners in the country. Most of those freed had been sentenced for “inciting opposition to the military regime” and were among the 21,000+ individuals who had been arrested since the military seized power in the February 2021 coup.
In a statement regarding the release of these prisoners, human rights NGO Amnesty International stated, “This long overdue release should mark the first step towards the immediate release of all individuals who have been arbitrarily detained for exercising their basic rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly or other human rights.”
Amnesty International went on to state that it remains deeply concerned about the thousands of individuals still held as prisoners across Myanmar.
One of those prisoners still unjustly detained is a prominent Burmese Christian leader, Dr. Hkalam Samson. On April 7, he was sentenced to six years in prison for unlawful association, defaming the state, and terrorism. He tried to appeal to higher courts, but the prison court rejected its appeal a day before the political prisoners were freed.
Samson was arrested in December 2022. He was the president of the Kachin Baptist Convention, a large association of Burmese churches, for 12 years and was serving as an advisor at the time of his arrest.
In 2019, Samson traveled to the United States to meet with then-president Donald Trump about the oppression of minorities, including many Christians, in civil war-torn Myanmar.
Christians make up just 6% of Myanmar’s population of 54 million. About 90% of the population practices Buddhism, and the military currently operates a Buddhist-nationalist regime.
Please pray for Samson and for other Christians who are suffering under the military regime in Myanmar.
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