BANGKOK -- Myanmar (Burma) on Oct. 12 began releasing thousands of prisoners, including 155 people imprisoned for political offenses, as part of a general amnesty.
Opposition leader and pro-democracy activitist Aung San Suu Kyi told The Asahi Shimbun, "The freedom of each individual is invaluable, but I wish that all political prisoners would be released."
A Thailand-based group supporting political prisoners said that 155 people imprisoned for political offenses had been freed.
Among them is Zarganar, a popular comedian who was detained in 2008 on charges of criticizing the military government of the time.
Myanmar has an estimated 2,000 political prisoners.
The amnesty announced by President Thein Sein said 6,359 prisoners would be set free.
After his release, Zarganar did not conceal his continuing distrust of the government.
"If we talk about the change going on in Burma, what I can say is I still don't believe that Burma is really on the right track," he said on arriving at an airport in Yangon (Rangoon), the country's largest city, from a prison in a remote area.
There was no word on whether democracy movement leaders who participated in anti-government demonstrations in 1988 and 2007 had been released.
This group is the focus of much attention among Western nations that imposed sanctions against Myanmar to force the isolated country to embrace democratic ideals.
Some pro-democracy forces in Myanmar and overseas complained that only a small number of political prisoners have been released in what appeared to be an arbitrary manner.
- « Prev
- Next »