Myanmar political prisoner amnesty soon: Officials

Last Updated: Monday, October 10, 2011 - 22:34

Yangon: Myanmar is on the verge of
freeing political prisoners, officials said on Monday, as the
United States hailed "dramatic developments" in the country
after decades of military rule.

The release of the country`s estimated 2,000 political
detainees, who include pro-democracy campaigners, journalists
and lawyers, has long been a top demand of Western nations
which imposed sanctions on Myanmar.

"Political prisoners will be released. But we still do
not know whether all of them will be freed," said a government
official who did not want to be named, adding that the pardon
was expected "within days".

A second official said the release would come before
President Thein Sein leaves Wednesday on an official visit to
India.

An amnesty would be the latest sign of political
change under a new nominally civilian government that has
reached out to critics including opposition leader Aung San
Suu Kyi, freed in November after seven straight years of
detention.

Her National League for Democracy (NLD) said it was
"expecting" all political detainees to be released.

A top US official, Kurt Campbell, today hailed recent
developments in Myanmar, including what he described as "very
consequential dialogue" between Suu Kyi and the leadership.

Campbell, one of several US officials to hold rare
talks with Myanmar Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in
Washington recently, said while concerns remain, "it is also
undeniably the case that there are dramatic developments under
way".

US President Barack Obama`s administration has pursued
both diplomatic engagement towards and continued sanctions
against Myanmar.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 10, 2011 - 22:34

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