Myanmar pardons political offenders

Myanmar’s reformist President granted a pardon Monday to people convicted of or charged with a variety of political offenses. It covers people convicted of or charged with unlawful association, high treason, contempt of government and violation of the peaceful assembly law.

“There are about 40 remaining political prisoners and 200 activists who are facing trial under political charges, but it is difficult to guess how many will enjoy the pardon this time,” said Ye Aung, a former political prisoner and member of the government’s political prisoner scrutinising committee.

Since Thein Sein became President, he has freed about 1,300 political prisoners, Mr. Ye Aung said.

The release of political detainees is a benchmark used by Western nations to judge Thein Sein’s administration. Previous releases have been a major factor in decisions by those nations to ease sanctions. — AP

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