Burma Frees 46 Prisoners: State Media

Posted July 3rd, 2012 at 2:35 am (UTC-5)
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Burmese state media say 46 prisoners have been freed as part of a general amnesty aimed at promoting “national unity.”

The state-run New Light of Myanmar says 37 men and nine women were freed Tuesday, under an order by President Thein Sein. It also says 34 foreign prisoners were deported.

But, it does not mention whether those released were among the hundreds of political prisoners still jailed by Burma's military-backed government.

Burma has released hundreds of political prisoners since a nominally civilian government came to power last year, ending decades of harsh military rule.

In response, many Western governments have begun relaxing sanctions against Burma. But the unconditional release of all remaining political prisoners remains a key condition for many to fully restore ties with the once-isolated nation.

Pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi says her National League for Democracy Party has counted at least 330 political prisoners still in jail, although many rights groups put the figure much higher.

The government says the remaining dissidents have not been released because authorities are working to determine those who are guilty of committing violent crimes and those who are activists.

In addition to releasing political prisoners, Burma's government has also relaxed media censorship, sought ceasefires with armed rebel groups,and permitted the once-imprisoned Aung San Suu Kyi to successfully run for parliament.