Burmese Junta Releases Prisoners In PR Move

The headline figure is over 6,000 released with a whopping, er… 23 being political prisoners, hmmm-

(Mizzima) – The Assistant Association for Political Prisoners Burma, an activist group, has said that at least 23 political prisoners were included among the 6313 prisoners, who have been given amnesty by Burma’s ruling junta on Saturday.

The Thailand-based AAPP-B, which monitors the situation of political prisoners in Burma, said so far the junta had released over 6,000 prisoners, including only 23 political prisoners, a few monks, members of the opposition party – National League for Democracy, and other activists.

Burma’s ruling military junta, which has persistently denied the presence of political prisoners in Burma, on Friday said, it would grant amnesty to prisoners, who had a record of good conduct as a second chance to rebuild their lives and prepare themselves to participate in the upcoming 2010 elections.

However, critics and opposition parties said there might be other reasons for the release than merely granting the prisoners a second chance, as the junta, which has a history of making moves to decrease mounting international pressure, cannot be trusted.

Tate Naing, General Secretary of AAPP-B said, the prisoners release was a part of the junta’s efforts to ease off pressure mounting on them, and was a show case, as there were few political prisoners included, among those released.

“It is very much evident, the junta wants to ease pressure from the international community and this is the way they act, whenever they face mounting pressure,” Tate Naing said.

The announcement of the release of 6,313 prisoners across the country came a day after the United Nations Human Rights envoy wound up a six-day visit to the country. During the visit, Tomas Ojea Quintana said he had suggested to Burma’s military authorities to implement progressive release of political prisoners.

Pascal Khoo-Thwe Feb 23, 2009 (DVB)…the generals only release a few political prisoners when they have major political gains to make, such as the time when it wanted to sell its new constitution to the international community last year and now ahead of the proposed 2010 election. The junta is like people who give only the smallest amount and the poorest quality to other people and want to get all the best things from them. When I checked the numbers of other prisoners released I noticed that they don’t add up, and I started to doubt whether 9002 prisoners were actually released last year or 6313 this year. The junta has never released the list of prisoners released from each jail or allowed independent groups to monitor the releases.

One Response to “Burmese Junta Releases Prisoners In PR Move”

  1. libhomo Says:

    I know it isn’t very many political prisoners, but you and other people pushing on the Burma issue deserve credit for making it politically useful for the junta to release any political prisoners. To me, it means keep pushing.


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