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Burma Frees More Political Prisoners - 2002-07-28


In Burma, the military government has freed 32 more political prisoners, including 14 members of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy.

A statement from Rangoon says all 32 prisoners freed Sunday were in "good health and have been reunited with their families." Fourteen of them belong to the party of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi, the National League for Democracy (NLD).

It was one of the largest single releases since the military government began a series of U.N. mediated, closed-door talks with Aung San Suu Kyi two years ago. She, herself, was released from house arrest in May.

The Burmese government said Sunday it would continue to release political prisoners. Nearly 300 jailed NLD members have been freed, but 261 remain in prison.

The move comes just days before U.N. Special Envoy Razali Ismail is due to arrive in Burma to press for greater progress in talks with the opposition on a political transition. The NLD won Burma's 1990 elections by a landslide, but the ruling generals have refused to hand over power.

Sunday's prisoner release also comes a day before foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) meet in Brunei, where Burma's human rights record is expected to come under scrutiny.

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