Thursday, November 15, 2012

452 Burmese prisoners to be released in amnesty

Thursday, 15 November 2012 14:28 Mizzima News

The Burmese government announced on Thursday morning that it would release 452 prisoners as a token of goodwill and a gesture of friendship toward neighboring countries.

It was not immediately apparent how many of the 452 would be political dissidents, but previous amnesties have included a number of political prisoners.

Speaking to Mizzima on Thursday morning, Tate Naing of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners- Burma (AAPP) said that he had not been informed of any political dissident who had been told he or she would be released in the amnesty.

Burma’s main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, estimates that at least 330 political dissidents are still in prison in Burma.

The last major amnesty of political prisoners came in September when dozens of dissidents were among more than 500 inmates pardoned.

The presidential amnesty comes days ahead of a visit to Burma by US President Barack Obama, and will undoubtedly be seen by many observers as another attempt by Naypyitaw to woo the US and Western governments which have recently eased sanctions on the former military-run pariah state.

According to a statement by the President’s Office on November 15: “The President of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has granted amnesty for 452 prisoners including foreigners from various prisons in accord with Section 204 (a) of the constitution and Section 401 (i) of Code of Criminal Procedure as of 15 November, 2012, for establishing stability of the State and eternal peace, on humanitarian grounds, for turning them into citizens who do their bits in nation building tasks realizing sympathy and goodwill of the State and for prolonging friendship with neighboring countries.

“The government will extradite the foreign prisoners,” it added.

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