Myanmar releases jailed US activist: Officials
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Last Updated: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 18:38
Yangon: Military-ruled Myanmar on Thursday released a US rights activist jailed for fraud and forgery in a rare show of leniency from the junta ahead of elections this year.

Democracy advocate Kyaw Zaw Lwin, also known as Nyi Nyi Aung, was given a three-year prison term in February after being convicted of forging an identity card, failing to declare currency at customs and violating immigration law.

"We can confirm that Kyaw Zaw Lwin has been released from prison and has left the country. We welcome that development," said Drake Weisert, a spokesman for the US embassy in Yangon, in an email to agency.

Supporters of the Myanmar-born US citizen said he had travelled to the country to visit his ailing mother, herself detained for political activities, when he was arrested on September 3.

He had remained behind bars in Yangon's notorious Insein prison since then, despite an appeal by more than 50 US lawmakers who wrote to Myanmar's leader, Senior General Than Shwe, to press for his release in February.

Myanmar officials, asking not to be named, earlier said authorities were deporting the US man today afternoon but gave no legal explanation.

The 40-year-old's lawyer Nyan Win, who also represents detained opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, was initially unaware of his release after an appeal against the sentence was rejected, but later said he was glad of the news.


First Published: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 18:38

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