Burma released seven political prisoners on Tuesday with many more expected in the days ahead.
The seven were identified by DVB as Yan Naing Htun, Maung Maung Than, Tin Htut Paing and Aung Min Naing, who were released from Insein Prison in Rangoon; Aik Paing and Ye Min, released from Taunggyi Prison; and San Htwe from Moulmein Prison.
Yan Naing Htun and Aung Min Naing, who were sentenced to seven months in prison for organising a march from Rangoon to Laiza in Kachin state, spoke to DVB upon their release.
“We do not regard this as an amnesty but just as an attempt to make amends and cover up the flaws and weaknesses within [Burma’s] rule of law,” said Yan Naing Htun. “We were only released because of the support of our colleagues outside prison and the president’s need to deliver on his promise.”
Jailed in January 2012 after a labour dispute regarding construction of a golf course in Rangoon’s South Okkalapa township, Maung Maung Than walked free from Insein, as did Generation Youth member Tin Htut Paing, who was detained for burning the Chinese flag and for staging an unlawful protest.
May Sabe Phyu, whose charges relating to Article 18 (the Peaceful Assembly and Peaceful Processions Law) will now be lifted, said: “The president pledged to release all remaining political prisoners in the country by the end of 2013 and I see this as him merely keeping his words. The presidential order itself said the pardon shall not include offences undertaken after 31 December 2013, and the related laws – Articles 18, 505(b) and 17(1) are yet to be completely abolished. So I guess we need to wait and see.”