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Myanmar President Pardons Dozens of Prisoners

  • VOA News

Student activists celebrate outside the prison after being released by the new government's general amnesty in Yangon, Myanmar, April 17, 2016.

Student activists celebrate outside the prison after being released by the new government's general amnesty in Yangon, Myanmar, April 17, 2016.

Myanmar President Htin Kyaw has granted pardons for 83 prisoners believed to be jailed for political reasons.

Htin Kyaw's office announced the amnesty Sunday, saying he had signed the order with the goal of achieving "national reconciliation" as the Buddhist New Year begins.

Myanmar's new democratically elected government, dominated by Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party, has dropped charges against hundreds of political activists charged under the country's former military junta, which ruled for five decades until handing over power to a semi-civilian government in 2011.

In a nationally televised address Sunday, Htin Kyaw vowed to release "political prisoners, political activists, and students facing trials related to politics."

General elections

The NLD took power in Myanmar, also known as Burma, last month after sweeping last November's general elections.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who spent two decades under house arrest, is unable to serve as president due to a provision inserted in the junta-crafted constitution.

But she was named to Htin Kyaw's Cabinet as foreign minister, and is also serving in the legislative-created post of "state counselor," allowing her to follow through with her pledge to run the government through a figurehead president.

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