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Myanmar to free thousands of prisoners

News of an amnesty in Myanmar to free more than 6,300 prisoners has raised hopes that political detainees will be among them.

Aung san suu kyi 2011 5 31Enlarge
Burmese democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi delivers a speech during a ceremony to mark her father General Aung San's 96th birth anniversary at the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Rangoon, Burma, on February 13, 2011. (Soe Than Win/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar’s state television on Tuesday announced a mass amnesty for more than 6,300 prisoners on humanitarian grounds.

Agence France Press reports that the announcement did not say whether political detainees would be included.

It came hours after a government-appointed human rights panel called for a pardon for Myanmar’s political “prisoners of conscience”.

Among them are journalists, pro-democracy activists, critics of the regime and members of ethnic minority groups fighting for greater autonomy.

(Read more on GlobalPost Aung San Suu Kyi foresees change in Myanmar and Australian admits shocking war crimes in Myanmar)

Rights groups estimate there are more than 2,000 political detainees in Myanmar prisons.

A government official, who declined to be named, told AFP that political prisoners were “expected to be freed within days”.

According to the BBC, the United States said that if Myanmar showed real progress on issues such as the plight of political prisoners, it would respond.

Myanmar is the subject of sanctions by several western nations.
 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/111011/myanmar-burma-prisoner-amnesty