Myanmar to free more prisoners: Officials

Myanmar is set to declare a new prisoner amnesty tomorrow that will include political detainees, government officials said.

Last Updated: Nov 13, 2011, 16:23 PM IST

Yangon: Myanmar is set to declare a new
prisoner amnesty tomorrow that will include political
detainees, government officials said on Sunday.

"Some prisoners will be released on Monday," an official
who did not wish to be named said, without giving further
details.

Another official added that "some prisoners of
conscience from prisons outside Yangon" would be among those
freed.

The regime pardoned about 200 political prisoners in a
much-anticipated amnesty in October but critics said the
gesture did not go far enough as most of the country`s
political detainees are still locked up.

Tomorrow`s expected amnesty will coincide with a press
conference by pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi to mark the
first anniversary of her release from years of house arrest.
Hopes of change in Myanmar have increased recently, with
efforts by the new nominally civilian leadership to reach out
to opponents such as Suu Kyi and a government move to defy
ally China by freezing work on an unpopular dam.

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

However, the exact number of political prisoners behind
bars is unclear. Before last month`s amnesty, rights groups
and observers believed the country had roughly 2,000 political
detainees.

The government`s national human rights commission,
however, said in an open letter in the state-run New Light of
Myanmar newspaper today that the real number was "only some
500".

PTI