Political prisoners set free in Myanmar

Twenty-four political prisoners were set free in Myanmar on Saturday after the government announced that it would release 6,313 prisoners.   One of those released is prisoner of conscience Ma Khin Khin Leh, who has been the subject of Amnesty International campaigns since her arrest in July 1999. The authorities detained her because they could not find her husband, Kyaw Wunna, who was connected to a pro-democracy march expected to take place that month. Of the other released political prisoners, there were nine Buddhist monks and one nun.  Some were members of Myanmar’s opposition party, the National League for Democracy. These included Dr. Zaw Myint Maung, a MP-elect who had been in prison since 1990. Another man, Zaw Naing Htwe, was released from a labour camp. Zaw Naing Htwe was sentenced to nine years in prison in December 2008 because he had received a letter from his elder brother, who was one of the imprisoned 88 Generation Students group leaders. “There are still more than 2,100 political prisoners behind bars in Myanmar. Many of them are in poor health, partly as a result of harsh prison conditions,” said Donna Guest, Asia Pacific Deputy Director.   “While the release of these prisoners is welcome, the Myanmar government must release all other prisoners of conscience immediately and unconditionally.”