photo by jon nicholson

news - Burma Frees Thousands, but No Word on Political Prisoners

september 18th, 2009

"Military-ruled Burma released 7,114 prisoners on Thursday for their 'good conduct,' official media reported, although political detainees are unlikely to be among them.

Burma state television said the prisoners, held in jails and detention centers across the country, had shown 'good conduct and discipline' and were released for the benefit of their families.

The announcement came late on Thursday in the form of text at the bottom of the screen during a soap opera and did not say whether any of those freed were among the estimated 2,000 political prisoners held in the country.

The United States, a major critic of political repression in Burma, has long sought to press the military junta that has ruled since 1962 to free Nobel peace prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She is under house arrest and has spent 14 of the past 20 years in detention of one form or another.

The US advocacy group Human Rights Watch said this week that the junta had more than doubled the number of political prisoners since it quashed since pro-democracy protests in 2007.

Nyan Win, spokesman for the opposition National League for Democracy party, which has more than 500 of its members in detention, could not confirm if any were among those released.

In September last year, Burma's junta released 9,002 prisoners as a gesture of its 'loving kindness and goodwill.'"

LINK: "Burma frees thousands, but no word on political prisoners" (Reuters)

FURTHER READING: "Burma 'frees journalists, activists in amnesty'" AFP)

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