60 pardoned political prisoners have been freed together with 500 inmates in Myanmar to ensure the stability of the state and eternal peace.
The amnesty came as democracy champion Suu Kyi arrived last Monday for an anticipated US tour which will coincide with a separate visit next week to New York by President Thein Sein.
According to Analysts, freeing a total of 514 inmates, was carefully timed ahead of Thein Sein’s trip to the US — which links the further rollback of sanctions to the release of dissidents jailed under the authoritarian former junta.
A prisons department official in the capital Naypyidaw told AFP that a total of 514 detainees had already been freed, the majority of whom were foreigners.
Bo Kyi, the joint secretary of the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) added, AAPP estimated that around 300 political prisoners remained in detention in Myanmar, with many experiencing poor conditions and brutality.
The Myanmar government does not make a distinction between ordinary and political prisoners. AAPP is a nonprofit organization that gathers information on political prisoners and their conditions in Myanmar, as well as providing assistance to the prisoners and their families.
Thailand’s foreign ministry said 83 of its nationals who were arrested in July after illegally crossing into Myanmar were also among those to be freed.
Myanmar has already granted amnesty to hundreds of political prisoners as part of reforms responsible for a dramatic thaw in relations between the West and the long-isolated nation formerly called Burma.
Myanmar was for decades ruled by an iron-fisted junta, but a reformist government under ex-general President Thein Sein has ushered in sweeping changes, including welcoming Suu Kyi’s party back into mainstream politics.
The United States has called for all remaining dissidents to be freed as a pre-condition for further economic rewards, including a relaxation of a ban on imports of Myanmar-made products imposed years ago in response to human rights abuses.
Naing Naing of the NLD stated that the 424 freed political prisoners excluded inmates who were former military intelligence officials purged under the military junta that ruled for 49 years as one of Asia’s most oppressive regimes before ceding power to a semi-civilian government in March last year.