Myanmar releases political prisoners before power transfer


– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Myanmar releases political prisoners before power transfer
Phuket Gazette / Reuters

PHUKET: Myanmar began releasing the first of about 100 political prisoners on Friday, government officials said, days before democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi’s party is to form a new government after an election victory in November.

Related news

The freeing of prisoners by the outgoing administration of President Thein Sein comes after U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Antony Blinken urged Myanmar to free all of its political prisoners during a visit on Monday.

“So far, 18 political prisoners were released from Insein Prison. They will release a total of 21 people today,” a prison official at Yangon’s Insein prison told Reuters on Friday.

Insein is one of Myanmar’s largest prisons. It is used for jailing political prisoners and is notorious for its poor conditions and bad treatment of inmates.

A senior official from the Home Ministry told Reuters that more than 100 prisoners would be freed from various detention centers across Myanmar.

Another senior official from the President’s Office said the political prisoners were being released as a commemoration of the World Buddhist Peace Conference that starts in Myanmar on Friday.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

“Most of them were arrested for staging protests. As far as I know, there will be 101 political prisoners who will be released in the coming days,” said Bo Kyi, Joint Secretary of political prisoner watchdog the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP).

Myanmar’s incarceration of more than 2,000 journalists, activists, politicians and even comedians during decades of military rule was a key factor behind Western sanctions.

Hundreds were released by Thein Sein’s semi-civilian government, which replaced the junta in 2011 and embarked on a series of political and economic reforms.

However, human rights groups had complained that many were still in jail. In December, there were 129 political prisoners incarcerated in Myanmar and 408 activists were awaiting trial for political actions, according to AAPP’s website.

A new parliament dominated by Nobel peace laureate Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) will sit for the first time on Feb. 1.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

World News

Thaiger Talk

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Check Also