Burma State TV announced an amnesty for 6,359 prisoners, specifying that the first prisoners will be freed tomorrow. Uncertainty remains on whether the measure will also regard political prisoners, who are believed to be 2,000, closed in prisons and forced labour camps.
The news of the amnesty was anticipated yesterday by Lower House speaker and member of the National Defence and Security Council, Shwe Mann, in a conversation with Norway’s deputy Foreign minister Espen Barth Eide.
An amnesty for political or conscience prisoners by the reclusive Myanmar regime has for long been an international demand, as the country has pledged a progressive opening to democratic freedoms.
After organizing the first elections in 20 years last November, the military regime assumed a civil image and freed the world renowned dissident and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. In parliament, voices appear to be gradually emerging of a, though reduced, opposition and ethnic minorities. According to the main opponents of the government, the opening is a mere façade, while the regime maintains power and privileges.