President Thein has ordered a prisoner amnesty ahead of a historic visit to the country by President Barack Obama. 66 detainees should be released, among them 43 political prisoners, quoting to AAPP-B list.
Burmese government has long insisted that all prisoners are criminals and does not acknowledge the existence of political detainees. However, the reformist new government, praised for its moves toward democracy, has released hundreds of people this year who were jailed under the former military junta.
A separate press release, issued Sunday, said the government would initiate “initiate a process between the Ministry of Home Affairs and interested parties to devise a transparent mechanism to review remaining prisoner cases of concern by the end of December 2012.”
Obama is due to meet Thein Sein, as well as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi before flying to Cambodia later Monday. Thein Sein’s administration has made freedom for political prisoners one of the centerpieces of its reform agenda. Earlier prisoner releases helped convince Western nations, including the United States, to ease sanctions they had imposed against the previous military regime. Under the now-defunct junta, rights groups said more than 2,000 activists and government critics were wrongfully imprisoned. Suu Kyi’s party says at least 330 political prisoners remain incarcerated.
Obama said Sunday in Thailand that his visit to Burma is an acknowledgment of the democratic transition under way but not an endorsement of the country’s government. Obama’s words were aimed at countering critics who say his trip to the country is premature.