The Straits Times
Published on Nov 15, 2012

Myanmar frees prisoners, doubts over political detainees


YANGON (REUTERS) - Myanmar said it would free 452 prisoners in a goodwill gesture ahead of a historic visit to the former military state by US President Barack Obama, but activists and the main opposition party said it was not clear if political detainees were among them.

State media said on Thursday that the prisoners would be freed with the "intent to help promote goodwill and the bilateral relationship". A Home Ministry official said some "prisoners of conscience" would be among them.

However, the National League for Democracy party of Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi had received no information that political detainees had been released, said senior party official Naing Naing.

Similarly, the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) had not heard of any among the 144 people it said had been released by mid-afternoon.