Three pastors freed from prison in Myanmar

Thursday, October 21, 2021

by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) - Three ethnic Kachin pastors in Myanmar were among 5,000 prisoners freed by the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) on Monday, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports. The Tatmadaw said in a statement they had released the prisoners “on humanitarian grounds,” but it is widely believed this was a strategic move by General Min Aung Hlaing to gain international acceptance as the legitimate leader of Myanmar.

On June 28, Pastor Koshan Singsar (Kachin Baptist Church), Pastor Z Kaw Htinah (Christ Church), and Pastor M Hawng Di (Rawan Baptist Church) were arrested and imprisoned for organizing prayers for peace during protests against the February 1 coup, ICC reports.

Organizing prayer meetings can carry a three-year prison sentence under a harsh and abused penal code that punishes subversion against the state or its representatives, ICC said.

The three pastors were among 4,320 people waiting for trial in regard to their roles in the coup protests. The prisoners were released a few days after Hlaing was banned from attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit later this month, ICC reports.

Kachin Baptist Convention confirmed the release of the three pastors, but ICC reports that: “There are still thousands who are behind bars for their involvement in the anti-coup movement, including religious leaders. Just last month, ethnic Chin pastor Rev. Thian Lian Sang was abducted by the Tatmadaw from his home. His whereabouts is still unknown.”