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

Polls Open in Scotland Independence Vote

As race to persuade undecided voters continues, 'No' voters say they believe life in Scotland will slowly improve, 'Yes' vote not worth the risk More

South Africa’s 'Open Mosque' Admits Everyone, Including Critics

Open Mosque founder plans to welcome gay worshipers and allow women to lead prayers More

Ukrainian Activist in Despair About Future of Her Country

IrIna Dovgan, accused of being a spy and tortured by pro-Russian separatists, is appealing to UN Human Rights Council to support her country 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.
A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Wateri
X
September 17, 2014 8:44 PM
Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.
Video

Video Enviropreneur Seeks to Save the Environment, Empower the Community

Lorna Rutto, a former banker, is now an ‘enviropreneur’ - turning plastic waste into furniture and fences discusses the challenges she faces in Africa with raw materials and the environment.
Video

Video West Trades Accusations Over Ransoms

As world leaders try to forge a common response to the threat posed by Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria, there is simmering tension over differing policies on paying ransoms. In the past month, the jihadist group has beheaded two Americans and one Briton. Both countries refuse to pay ransom money. As Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London, there is uncertainty in the approach of some other European nations.
Video

Video Scotland Independence Bid Stokes Global Interest

The people of Scotland are preparing to vote on whether to become independent and break away from the rest of Britain, in a referendum being watched carefully in many other countries. Some see it as a risky experiment; while others hope a successful vote for independence might energize their own separatist demands. Foreign immigrants to Scotland have a front row seat for the vote. VOA’s Henry Ridgwell spoke to some of them in Edinburgh.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid