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Burma Frees Thousands on Eve of Independence Day

Burma has released thousands of prisoners to mark the 57th anniversary of the country's independence from Britain.

A government-run newspaper, New Light of Myanmar, says 5,588 prisoners have been freed on humanitarian grounds to coincide with the holiday.

Monday's gesture differs from three previous mass releases, which were conducted because of what the junta described as irregularities in arrests by the now dismantled National Intelligence bureau.

The bureau's former chief, former prime minister Khin Nyunt, has been placed under house arrest on accusations of corruption.

The government has released nearly 20,000 prisoners since early November.

Although about 50 dissidents were freed in prior releases, there was no indication that any political prisoners were let go this time.

Some information for this report provided by AFP.