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Burmese Opposition Says 40 Political Prisoners Released

Press rights groups are welcoming the release of two Burmese journalists as part of a prisoner release marking Burma's independence day.

Reporters Without Borders and the Burma Media Association say that Thaung Tun and Than Win Hlaing were freed after nearly seven years in prison. The organizations say the two were jailed for writing books and articles that angered the Burmese government.

The country's main opposition party, the National League for Democracy, says about 40 political prisoners were among the more 2,800 people freed Thursday.

The group used independence celebrations to again call for the release of its leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, from house arrest.

Burmese rights groups say that despite gaining their freedom from Britain, Burmese people enjoy little freedom of their own.

Amnesty International estimates 1,000 political prisoners are held in Burma.

Aung San Suu Kyi has spent more than half of the past 17 years under house arrest, after the military refused to recognize the election victory of her party in 1990.