TEMPO.CO, Rangoon - Myanmar on Tuesday, October 7, 2014, announced that it will release more than 3,000 prisoners, including political prisoners and former intelligence officials. The action was considered to be the largest pardoning within the last few years.
In addition, the pardoning was considered to be one of Myanmar’s attempts to generate sympathy just a month before the ASEAN Summit that is scheduled to be held this November. President Thein Sein decided to pardon 3,073 prisoners for the sake of "peace and stability" and "the rule of law", the government said on the Information Ministry website.
The decision was confirmed by Ye Aung, a representative from the Former Myanmar Political Prisoner Group who worked together with the government in negotiating the release of political prisoners. “We received confirmation from Myitkyina prison that they will release a political prisoner. [The prisoner] was sentenced to five years of imprisonment under the Explosives Law in 2013,” said Ye Aung.
While many political prisoners have been released, about 75 still remain in detention. "Releasing prisoners is a good step. We welcome that. But we want the government to release more. Politically, it does not mean anything without the release of political prisoners." Aung added.
REUTERS | BBC | RAJU FEBRIAN