Monday, February 26, 2024

Myanmar opposition wants all political detainees freed

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YANGON: Myanmar opposition supporters called on the government on Thursday to free all political prisoners, a day after it released fewer dissidents than had been expected, leaving nearly 2,000 behind bars.

Western countries have shunned Myanmar for decades because of its poor rights record but its new civilian government, which came to power this year after the military nominally gave up power, is taking tentative steps to end its isolation.

The release of about 200 political detainees on Wednesday, under a general amnesty for 6,359 prisoners, followed a loosening of some media controls and more dialogue with pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The United States, Europe and Australia have said the freeing of political prisoners is essential to considering lifting sanctions that have crippled the pariah state and driven it closer to China.

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Suu Kyi, herself freed from 15 years of house arrest last year, said on Wednesday she was thankful for the releases and hoped for more.

”We will keep calling for the release of the remaining political prisoners,” he said, adding that the party had confirmed the release of 184 political detainees.

Neither he nor Suu Kyi commented about the sanctions.

The Thai-based Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (Burma) human rights group said 206 political prisoners had been freed and many more remained incarcerated. It too called for the release of all of them. (UNI)

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