Myanmar political prisoner amnesty soon: Officials
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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.


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

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