Burma’s President Thein Sein on Thursday granted amnesty to 6,966 prisoners, including 153 Chinese loggers sentenced last week to life imprisonment and two others who were given 10-year sentences, Xinhua has reported, citing an official.
According to an early report by The Associated Press, those released will also include some former military intelligence officials who had been purged by their army colleagues.
An Information Ministry statement posted on its website said 6,966 prisoners, including 210 foreigners, will be freed from various prisons across the country “on humanitarian grounds and in view of national reconciliation.”
It was not clear if political dissidents were among those being freed under the pardon, which is effective Thursday.
The pardons by President Thein Sein coincide with a Buddhist religious holiday and come ahead of an 8 November general election.
Beijing lodged a diplomatic protest last week after a Burmese court sentenced 153 Chinese nationals to life imprisonment for illegal logging in Kachin State. Two others, who are minors, were each handed a 10-year sentence. The 155 are believed to be among those pardoned on Thursday.