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Myanmar frees dozens of political prisoners

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Myanmar on Tuesday pardoned dozens of political prisoners, activists said, a day after the European Union agreed to end almost all sanctions against the former pariah state.

At least 59 political prisoners were included in the latest amnesty, Bo Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) told AFP.

"More than 200 political prisoners are still in prison," he added. "Political prisoners should be recognised as political prisoners and be released unconditionally."

Another activist, Nyan Lin from the 88 Generation group, confirmed that at least 30 political prisoners were released.

A Myanmar government official told AFP that in total 93 inmates -- including three foreigners -- were pardoned without identifying them.

"This release aims to allow them to participate in building the country and is also based on humanitarian grounds," he said.

Myanmar, which long denied their existence, has freed hundreds of political detainees since President Thein Sein took power in March 2011. The government announced a review of all politically related cases in November last year.

Rights groups accused Myanmar's former junta of wrongfully imprisoning about 2,000 political opponents, dissidents and journalists.

The country's new reformist regime released dozens of political prisoners in November to coincide with a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130423/myanmar-frees-dozens-political-prisoners-0