Burma to free political prisoners ‘within days’, official claims

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MONDAY, 10 OCTOBER 2011

YANGON (BNO NEWS) — Burmese authorities are planning to release political prisoners “within a few days,” officials told a Burmese news organization in exile on Monday.

Lower House Speaker Shwe Mann told a foreign diplomat that there would be a prisoner release “within a few days,” prompting MPs to hope that political prisoners will be included. “The speaker is a member of the national defense and security council so his words are 100 percent sure,” Lower House MP Thein Nyunt told Mizzima News.

On August 25, Thein Nyunt put forward a motion to grant amnesty to prisoners of conscience. About 20,000 prisoners were released after President Thein Sein announced a one-year presidential commutation on May 16, but only a few were political prisoners.

Daw Shu, the caretaker of political prisoners, said: “Word has gotten around that the prisoners will be freed between October 11 and 24. They will be released in two batches. It’s likely that the prisoners who are serving long prison term will also be released.”

The rumor comes after Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin told the United Nations General Assembly on September 28 that prisoners would be released soon.

According to the Thailand-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners-Burma, there are at least 1,998 political prisoners in 42 prisons and 109 labor camps across Burma, which is formally known as Myanmar. Late last year, authorities released pro-democracy leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi after years under house arrest.

(Copyright 2011 by BNO News B.V. All rights reserved. Info: sales@bnonews.com.)

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