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YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar on Tuesday, December 31, announced there were “no more political prisoners” after issuing a sweeping amnesty order aimed at fulfilling a presidential pledge to free all dissidents by the end of the year.
The country has released scores of prisoners of conscience as part of dramatic reforms, implemented since the end of outright military rule in 2011, that have ended the former pariah’s international isolation and seen most western sanctions disbanded.
Myanmar late Monday said it would pardon those imprisoned under a series of controversial legislation, including the Emergency Act used by the junta to imprison opponents as well as laws governing freedom of assembly and the right to protest.
Presidential spokesman Ye Htut said the amnesty, along with a separate pardon for 5 additional inmates jailed under other legislation, meant “there are no more political prisoners.”
“I would like to say that the president has fulfilled his promise given to the people, because there will be no political prisoners at all at the end of 2013,” he said in a post on his Facebook page, without giving further details.
It was not immediately clear how many people would be affected by the release, which began Tuesday and also affects people facing charges under the laws.
Campaigners recently said some 40 dissidents were behind bars under Myanmar’s draconian laws, while a further 200 people were awaiting trial, mainly for protesting without permission. – Rappler.com