Sunday, February 22, 2009

Myanmar's junta release prisoners in amnesty

Burmese military junta released 12 political prisoners from among over 6,000 prisoners meant to be granted amnesty on Saturday
Myanmar military rulers on Saturday has started the process of release prisoners across the country, to prove its amnesty to 6,313 prisoners, who the junta said had shown 'Good Conduct and Discipline'.

Junta, on Friday announced that the prisoners would be released "on humanitarian grounds and as a gesture of showing sympathy towards their family," and "to enable them to serve the interests of the nation and to participate in the fair elections to be held in the year 2010."

However, the junta, who has persistently denied the presence of political prisoners in the country, did not mention whether the release would include any of the estimated 2000 political prisoners, who were languishing in prisons across the country.

Besides, the junta's announcement carried by state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar, justified its decisions for sentenced activists and politicians to long prison terms, in recent months saying, they were sentenced for violating the existing law.

"In building the new nation, the government handed down sentences to those who violated the existing laws, to prison terms in accordance with the law to ensure peace and tranquility and prevalence of law and order," the paper said.

Since August 2008, courts in Burma, have handed down long prison terms to activists, and even their lawyers.

But the opposition source in Rangoon said, a few political prisoners in remote prisons of the country, are likely to be among those released. However, so far no one has come out of the prisons.

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