Myanmar releases scores of political prisoners

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Myanmar prisonThe new government in Myanmar freed more than 100 political prisoners under an amnesty ordered by the country’s new de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as her first official act.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper on April 9 cited police as saying that 113 political detainees were freed across the country. Their freedom came along with a general amnesty for ordinary convicts ahead of Myanmar’s traditional New Year festival, often the occasion for prisoner releases.

The move was praised by human rights advocates, who, however, criticised that two peace activists at the same time were each sentenced to two years hard labour for activities bringing them into contact with  armed ethnic rebel group Kachin Independence Army that has been battling the central government.

Rights groups estimated that 100 political detainees remained in prison when a military-backed government was succeeded by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party late this March. About 400 others were being held pending trial, including 60 students in the town of Tharrawaddy. Different procedures are required for the release of people from the two groups.

Under the previous government that took power in 2011, more than 1,100 political detainees were released. The junta that held power before then kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for a number of years, and jailed hundreds of her supporters and other critics.

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Reading Time: 1 minute

The new government in Myanmar freed more than 100 political prisoners under an amnesty ordered by the country’s new de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as her first official act.

Reading Time: 1 minute

Myanmar prisonThe new government in Myanmar freed more than 100 political prisoners under an amnesty ordered by the country’s new de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi as her first official act.

The state-run Global New Light of Myanmar newspaper on April 9 cited police as saying that 113 political detainees were freed across the country. Their freedom came along with a general amnesty for ordinary convicts ahead of Myanmar’s traditional New Year festival, often the occasion for prisoner releases.

The move was praised by human rights advocates, who, however, criticised that two peace activists at the same time were each sentenced to two years hard labour for activities bringing them into contact with  armed ethnic rebel group Kachin Independence Army that has been battling the central government.

Rights groups estimated that 100 political detainees remained in prison when a military-backed government was succeeded by Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party late this March. About 400 others were being held pending trial, including 60 students in the town of Tharrawaddy. Different procedures are required for the release of people from the two groups.

Under the previous government that took power in 2011, more than 1,100 political detainees were released. The junta that held power before then kept Suu Kyi under house arrest for a number of years, and jailed hundreds of her supporters and other critics.

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