Myamnar - 
Article published the Wednesday 12 October 2011 - Latest update : Wednesday 12 October 2011

Myanmar releases first batch of amnestied prisoners

Relations of prisoners wait outside Insein Prison gate in Yangon on Wednesday
Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun

By RFI

Myanmar on Wednesday freed about 120 political prisoners, the first of 6,300 detainees who are to benefit from an amnesty announced on Tuesday.

"As far as I know, about 120 political prisoners have been released. We are still compiling the list," said Nyan Win, spokesperson of long-term dissident Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy.

State television announced on Tuesday that more than 6,300 elderly, sick, disabled or well-behaved prisoners would be granted an amnesty from Wednesday "on humanitarian grounds".

It said freeing detainees would allow them to "help to build a new nation".

Not all those freed will be political prisoners, who, according to Amnesty International, have endured "torture and other forms of cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment".

President Thein Sein, a former general and senior junta figure, has surprised critics by signalling a series of political reforms since taking power following a controversial election last November.

Last month the government scrapped a dam project, saying the the move was because of public opposition.

tags: Aung San Suu Kyi - Burma - Justice - Myanmar - NLD - politics - Prisons - Yangon
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