National League for Democracy minister released from prison in Mandalay

Set Aung was deputy finance minister under Myanmar’s ousted government.
By RFA Burmese
National League for Democracy minister released from prison in Mandalay Deputy Minister of Planning, Finance and Industry Set Aung in a photograph taken on May 13, 2013.

Myanmar’s junta released Set Aung from Yamethin Prison in central Mandalay region on Friday, sources close to him told RFA.

The deputy minister of planning, finance and industry under Myanmar’s ousted National League for Democracy-led government had reached the end of his three-year term.

“He was released this morning after his release date,” said an acquaintance who didn’t wish to be identified.

“He is in good health.”

Set Aung was arrested shortly after the military staged a coup on Feb. 1, 2021 and was sentenced to three years in prison for violating the official secrets act in September last year. His sentence included time served and was reduced slightly.

Myanmar’s former leader Aung San Suu Kyi, planning and finance minister Soe Win, former planning and finance minister Kyaw Win and Australian-born economic advisor Sean Turnell all received three-year sentences at the same time from a court in Naypyidaw prison.

Turnell was freed in an amnesty on Nov. 17, 2022. Soe Win and Kyaw Win have also both been freed, while Suu Kyi is still believed to be in solitary confinement in Naypyidaw Prison where she is serving a total of 33 years for 19 cases.

Set Aung was transferred to Yamethin Prison following last year's sentencing. It is larger than Naypyidaw Prison and holds around 300 political prisoners from nearby townships, according to prisoners’ families. They include Su Kyi’s bodyguards, police lieutenant Pyae Phyoe Naing and police second lieutenant Cherry Htet, National League for Democracy union cabinet office minister Min Thu, Naypyitaw mayor Myo Aung and deputy mayor Ye Min Oo.

The National League for Democracy won the 2020 elections but senior leaders were arrested following the Feb. 2021 coup, before parliament had a chance to convene.

In March this year, the junta announced the dissolution of the party after it failed to re-register with the military’s Election Commission. A total of 40 political parties were dissolved because they did not re-register within 60 days of new laws and regulations enacted by the military council.

The junta has arrested more than 18,500 people, including politicians and democracy activists, since the coup according to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners. More than 6,000 were sentenced to prison.

Translated by RFA Burmese. Edited by Mike Firn.


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