Few political prisoners released in amnesty

Feb 21, 2009 (DVB), Fewer than 20 political prisoners were among the 6313 prisoners who have been released today as part of the Burmese military junta's latest amnesty.

Eleven prisoners including Thet Wai and five Buddhist monks were released from Rangoon’s Insein prison, while four prisoners including Dr Zaw Myint Maung were released from Myitkyina prison in Kachin state.

Thet Wai, who was jailed for reporting human rights abuses to the International Labour Organisation, criticised the small number of political prisoners released.

"I look at it from a positive point of view. But it has become a habit of this government to release only a handful of political prisoners," Thet Wai said.

"Last time, they released more than 9000 prisoners. Only 9 or 10 political prisoners were released. Now, around 6000 have been released and I think not more than 14 or 15 political prisoners are among them," he said.

"It is a bad sign. It shows the junta has no desire to release political prisoners."

There are more 2000 political prisoners currently held in prisons around Burma.

Reporting by Htet Aung Kyaw

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