News Column

Burma Grants Amnesty to Political Prisoners

July 23, 2013

Myanmar President Thein Sein on Tuesday granted amnesties to 73 political prisoners, a week after he promised to release all prisoners of conscience while visiting Britain.

"This is the first part of president's commitment to release all the political prisoners," said Hla Maung Shwe, a member of the government's Committee to Scrutinize Remaining Political Prisoners.

There were around 200 political prisoners behind bars before Tuesday's amnesty, said Tun Kyi of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma), a non-governmental group that monitors Myanmar's political prisoners' situation.

"Now the total number of remaining political prisoners has dropped to lower than 100, for the first time in many years," he said.

On July 15, on an official visit to London Thein Sein promised British Prime Minister David Cameron that he would release all political prisoners before the end of this year.

The reform-minded president has already released thousands of political prisoners since coming to power in March, 2011.

Most of those who remain are members of ethnic minority insurgencies, sources said.

Thein Sein's visit was the first to Britain by a president from Myanmar. He also visited France.

Source: Copyright 2013 dpa Deutsche Presse-Agentur GmbH

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