News / Asia

Burma Releases More Political Prisoners

Political prisoner Win Shwe, center, is welcomed by family members after he was released from Insein Prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013
Political prisoner Win Shwe, center, is welcomed by family members after he was released from Insein Prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013
Gabrielle Paluch
Freed dissidents began emerging from Burmese jails Tuesday, the last day for the government to fulfill a promise to release all political prisoners by year's end. At least 12 political prisoners have been released so far.

President Thein Sein vowed to release all remaining political prisoners by the end of the year, but rights groups say many still remain unjustly behind bars.
 
The prisoners are being released from Rangoon’s Insein prison as part of what the government has announced will be a sweeping amnesty.
 
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), those pardoned include peace activists Aung Min Naing and Yan Naing Tun. They had been imprisoned for leading a peace march to Laiza, the capital of war-torn Kachin state.
 
Thein Sein promised in July, during a state visit to London, he would free all political prisoners by the end of the year.

  • Political prisoners Yan Naing Tun (C) and Aung Min Naing (back C) talk to the media after being released from Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • Family members hold leaves as they wait for political prisoners to be released from Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • A man holds a sign as he waits for political prisoners to be released from Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013. 
  • Family members hold signs as they wait for political prisoners to be released from Insein prison in Rangoon, Burma, Dec. 31, 2013. 

Bo Kyi, who advocates directly with the government on behalf of the AAPP, estimates there are about 40 prisoners left to be released under the president's amnesty. He said another 200 activists currently facing trial should have their charges dropped.
 
Earlier this month, 41 activists were released from jail to coincide with the Southeast Asia Games, but according to AAPP two of them were re-arrested within days of their release, including copper mine activist Naw Ohn Hla.
 
“Those who are facing trial will… [have their charges dropped] and those who were re-arrested will be released today or tomorrow if they were charged under Section 18, the peaceful demonstration act or Section 505 they will be released,” said Bo. Section 505 refers to legislation against causing a public disturbance.
 
Bo said the remaining prisoners will be released throughout the first week of January as the judges hand down their pardons. Since Thein Sein became president, 1,300 political prisoners have been released.
 
In addition to political prisoners and prisoners of conscience, Bo Kyi said that there are prisoners considered by the government to be "special cases," such as Tun Aung and Kyaw Hla Aung. The two Muslim community leaders were arbitrarily detained and given lengthy sentences during deadly riots in Rakhine state last year, but it is unclear if, or when, they will be pardoned.

You May Like

Could Nemtsov Threaten Putin in Death as in Life?

Dynamic and debonair opposition leader had supported liberal economic reforms, criticized Russian president's aggression in Ukraine More

Oil Smuggling Highlights Challenges in Shutting Down IS Finances

Pentagon spokesman says Islamic State 'certainly continues to get revenue from the oil industry black market' but that airstrikes have made a dent More

India Focuses on Infrastructure, Investment to Propel Economy

Government expects economy to grow at 8 to 8.5 percent in next fiscal year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Casei
X
Katherine Gypson
February 25, 2015 11:30 PM
The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video US Supreme Court Hears Hijab Discrimination Case

The U.S. Supreme Court has heard opening arguments in a workplace religious discrimination case that examines whether a clothing store can refuse to hire a young woman for wearing the headscarf she says is a symbol of her Muslim faith. Katherine Gypson reports from the Supreme Court.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Hurt Nascent Illinois Hydraulic Fracturing Industry

Falling oil prices are helping consumers purchase cheaper petroleum at the pump. But that’s made hydraulic fracturing or “fracking” less economically viable for the companies in the United States invested in the process. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports on one Midwestern town that was hoping to change its fortunes by cashing in on the next big U.S. oil boom.
Video

Video Fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan Fuels Mass Displacement

Heavy fighting in Sudan's South Kordofan state is causing hundreds of thousands to flee into uncertain conditions. Local aid organizations estimate as many as 400,000 civilians have been internally displaced since the conflict began more than three years ago, while another 250,000 have fled across the border to refugee camps in South Sudan. VOA's Adam Bailes reports.
Video

Video Lao Dam Project Runs Into Opposition

A Lao dam project on a section of the Mekong River is drawing opposition from local fishermen, international environmental groups and neighboring countries. VOA's Say Mony visited the region to investigate the concerns. Colin Lovett narrates.
Video

Video A Filmmaker Discovers Her Biracial Identity in "Little White Lie

Lacey Schwartz grew up in an upper middle-class Jewish family, in a town in upstate New York where almost everyone she knew was white. She assumed that she was, as well. Her recent documentary, Little White Lie, tells the story of how she uncovered the secret of her true racial background. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more on the film.
Video

Video Deep Under Antarctic Ice Sheet, Life!

With the end of summer in the Southern hemisphere, the Antarctic research season is over. Scientists from Northern Illinois University are back in their laboratory after a 3-month expedition on the Ross Ice Shelf, the world’s largest floating ice sheet. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, they hope to find clues to explain the dynamics of the rapidly melting ice and its impact on sea level rise.
Video

Video US-Cuba Normalization Talks Resume Friday

Negotiations aimed at normalizing diplomatic relations between the U.S. and Cuba resume Friday. On the table: lifting a half-century trade embargo and easing banking and travel restrictions. There's opposition in Congress, but some analysts say there may be sufficient political and economic incentives in both nations for a potential breakthrough this year. VOA's Mil Arcega reports.
Video

Video Pakistan's Deadline For SIM Registration Has Cellphone Users Scrambling

Pakistani cell phone users have until midnight Thursday to register their SIM cards, or their service will be cut off. While some privacy experts worry about government intrusion, many Pakistanis are just worried about keeping their phone lines open. VOA Deewa reporter Arshad Muhmand has more from Peshawar.
Video

Video Myanmar Warns Factory Workers to End Strikes

Outside Myanmar's main city Yangon, thousands of workers walked off their jobs earlier this month demanding a doubling of their wages, pay raises after a year and input from labor unions on industrial regulations. Since Friday, the standoff has grown more tense as police moved in to disrupt the sit-ins, resulting in clashes that injured people from both sides. VOA correspondent Steve Herman visited industrial zones which have become a focus of Myanmar's fledgling workers rights movement.
Video

Video Oscar Winners Do More Than Thank the Academy

The Academy Awards presentation is Hollywood’s night to reward the best movies from the previous year. It’s typically a lot of glitter, a lot of thank you’s, a lot of speeches. But many of this year’s speeches carried messages beyond the thank you's. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti takes a look.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More