Burma Times Correspondent: September 17, 2015
At least 26 people, including one woman are awaiting permission to go to their homes after being released from prison.
The Rohingyas were released sometime this week after years in jail. Sixteen of them say they are from Buthidaung while ten are from Maungdaw. Details are sketchy as the freed prisoners are nervous and don’t want to talk to locals in Akyab.
Under the laws of the country, Rohingya Muslims need permission to move from one area to another. Additionally the released prisoners fear attacks by nationalists on their way back home and are awaiting security clearance.
Thousands of Rohingyas were arrested in 2012 following the anti Muslim riots. The Rohingyas arrested were often those who fought back Rakhine mobs trying to take over their villages. In most cases, the authorities instead of arresting the attackers cracked down on the defenders.
Those arrested were mercilessly tortured in custody which included being beaten with iron rods. One prisoner told Rohingya Vision that ‘they were beaten like snakes’.
Hundreds have died under torture in the prisons.
The released Rohingyas however did not comment on their conditions out of fear they might be arrested again and instead expressed gratitude to the government. They also did not say about the circumstances they were arrested and claimed there was no relation with the 2012 riots.
While a few Rohingyas have been released under a general amnesty for all political prisoners throughout Myanmar, thousands of Muslims continue to languish in jail. The freedom of political prisoners have been showcased as an example of the country moving towards democracy and has been applauded by Western countries.
Analysts however say the amnesty has been disproportionately applied towards Muslims with few being released from prison.