Political Dissidents Released in Govt Amnesty
covering burma and southeast asia
Wednesday, September 23, 2020


Political Dissidents Released in Govt Amnesty

By SAW YAN NAING Friday, January 13, 2012

Htay Kywe

Min Ko Naing, Ko Ko Gyi, Htay Kywe, Mya Aye and Nilar Thein are among 650 prisoners released on Friday under a new presidential pardon.
Family members of political prisoners told The Irrawaddy on Friday that they were informed by the authorities that their relatives are on the list of freed prisoners. It was also reported that former Burma spy chief Khin Nyunt and intelligent official ex-Col San Pwint have also been released, as were ethnic political prisoners including Hkun Htun Oo and prominent Buddhist monk U Gambira, who was an organizer of the 2007 'Saffron Revolution.” Journalists including Zaw Thet Htwe were also freed.

Speaking with The Irrawaddy on Friday from outside Thayawady prison, Nilar Thein, said, “I’m happy, and I will be very happy to see my family. We will get involved in democratic reform with Auntie [Aung San Suu Kyi].”

“The reforms introduced by President Thein Sein and Auntie Suu are what we have so long been waiting for. But we have to work harder for the remaining colleagues who are still in prison. If all of them are released, that will be a beautiful image for all of us,” she said. 

Her husband, Ko Jimmy was also freed.

Sources in Insein said that hundreds of family members of prisoners gathered outside Insein prison to greet their soon-to-be freed relatives. About 200 prisoners in Insein prison will be released after 11 am on Friday, said one resident who gathered outside the prison.

“We don’t know yet how many political prisoners in Insein will be freed. But we have heard that about 200 prisoners in Insein prison alone will be released,” he added.

The Burmese government made the announcement through state-run radio and television in Thursday evening that some 651 prisoners would be freed so that they can participate in the task of nation-building.

The amnesty came less than two weeks after the government freed 6,656 convicts under an amnesty and reduced the sentences of 38,964 others through a clemency order.

Some 13 political detainees across the country were among those freed, according to The Associated Press report on Thursday. Among prominent prisoners are ethnic party leaders, activists from pro-democracy uprisings in 1988 and 2007, and relatives of the country's former leader, the late Gen. Ne Win, said the report.

Amnesties under the new government that freed more than 27,000 convicts since last May were disappointing as they included only 200 or so political detainees. The current estimate of political prisoners ranges from about 600 to 1,500, though the government insists no one falls into the category because they are simply criminal convicts.

The government TV announcement read on Thursday: “For the sake of state peace and stability, national consolidation and to enable everyone to participate in political process and on humanitarian grounds, the government will grant amnesty to 651 prisoners so that they can take part in nation building.” 

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