Myanmar grants amnesty to 73 political prisoners

Myanmar President Thein Sein granted amnesty to 73 political prisoners Tuesday on "humanitarian grounds," presidential spokesman Ye Htut said.

The prisoners will be released from various prisons across the country on Tuesday under Thein Sein's amnesty order, National Economic and Social Advisory Council member Hla Maung Shwe said.

The move comes after Thein Sein pledged during his recent visit to Europe to release all political prisoners within this year.

In a July 16 speech at the Chatham House think tank in London, Thein Sein said, "I guarantee to you that by the end of this year there will be no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar."

Activists in Yangon said they had confirmed, as of midday Tuesday, the release of 37 prisoners, including six from Insein prison located north of Yangon.

Hla Maung Shwe said with the completion of Tuesday's releases, the number of remaining political prisoners in the country will be well less than 100.

Last week, a member of the Committee to Scrutinize Remaining Political Prisoners, led by a President Office minister and composed of former political prisoners and government officials, said a list of 155 candidates for release had been submitted to the presidential office for consideration.