Yangon: A new official human rights body in Myanmar urged the President on Tuesday to release "prisoners of conscience" in an open letter in state media, the clearest sign yet that the reclusive state may free political prisoners within days.
The United States, Europe and Australia have made the release of an estimated 2,100 political prisoners a key condition before they would consider lifting sanctions imposed in response to human rights abuses, including a bloody army crackdown on a 1988 student uprising.
One lawmaker in Myanmar`s parliament, who attended a meeting on Friday in the capital, Naypyitaw, told Reuters the release of political prisoners could come "in a few days." He said that was the message given by Shwe Mann, the Lower House speaker.
Prisoners who did not pose "a threat to the stability of state and public tranquility" should be released, Win Mra, chairman of Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, wrote in the open letter published on Tuesday.
"The Myanmar National Human Rights Commission humbly requests the president, as a reflection of his magnanimity, to grant amnesty to those prisoners and release them from the prison," the letter ended.
The commission was formed last month by the president.
The statement is one of several recent signs of change since the army nominally handed over power in March to civilians after elections in November, a process ridiculed at the time as a sham to cement authoritarian rule behind a democratic facade.
Recent overtures by the government hint at deeper changes at work -- from calls for peace with ethnic minority guerrilla groups to some tolerance of criticism and more communication with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, who was released last year from 15 years of house arrest.