Published on Thursday, 15 November 2012 22:33
The Myanmar government has granted amnesty to 452 prisoners, including 10 foreigners, days before US President Barack Obama’s visit, the state-run newspaper reported today.
The state media said the decision to free prisoners was intended to “help promote goodwill and bilateral relationship".
Sources, however, said political prisoners were not included among the released. The Correctional Bureau also has not revealed the nationalities of the 10 foreigners who were pardoned.
Toe Kyi, a member of the ex-Political Prisoners Group, said Myanmar still has about 230 political prisoners. The government freed hundreds of political prisoners in 2011, as part of the series of reforms under President Thein Sien.
Myanmar usually grants amnesties on significant days and occasions or before foreign visits of state leaders.
Obama will be visiting Myanmar on November 19, as part of his tour of Asia. He is due to separately meet with the president and Aung San Suu Kyi, leader of opposition National League for Democracy, in Yangon.
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