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Myanmar releases more political prisoners

High-profile political dissidents, former prime minister among those free in today's amnesty

Myanmar releases more political prisoners
U Win Kyi, an NLD party member, exits Oo Bo prison in Mandalay
John Zaw, Mandalay

January 13, 2012

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Several of Myanmar’s most high-profile political prisoners were reportedly released or scheduled for release today in the country’s latest round of amnesties. Among them were 88 Generation Students Group leader Min Ko Naing and U Gambira, the monk who helped spearhead the 2007 Saffron Revolution. State media announced yesterday that it would release about 650 prisoners, though it did not include specific names of political dissidents. The announcement followed a prisoner release on January 3, during which only a handful of dissidents were freed. U Win Kyi, a member of the National League for Democracy, was released from Oo Bo prison in Mandalay this morning and told that he was eager to return to the work that put him behind bars for the last eight years. “Our journey is not finished, and we must move forward to fulfill our dream of getting democracy in our country,” he said. U Win Kyi was sentenced to 23 years in prison in 2003. He added that recent steps by the country’s nominally civilian government had fired his hopes of real and enduring change. “If all people in the country work together with fraternity, we may reach our goal of becoming a democratic country, including a durable peace in the ethnic regions.” Some 23 prisoners from Oo Bo prison, including monks and former military intelligence personnel, were released today, according to NLD sources in Mandalay. Sai Nyunt Lwin, 60, an ethnic minority Shan and secretary of the former Shan Nationalities’ League for Democracy, was freed today from Kalaymyo prison, according to a Reuters report. “I have confirmed all remaining leaders of the SNLD, including Chairman Khun Tun Oo, were released from different prisons across the country today,” he told Reuters by phone. Also freed in today’s amnesty was former prime minister Khin Nyunt, who was arrested in 2004 following a purge of the country’s military intelligence apparatus and had been under house arrest. Khin Nyunt first promoted Myanmar’s 7-point “roadmap to democracy” in 2003.
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