Burma announces release of over 6000 prisoners
by Mizzima News
Friday, 20 February 2009 20:29
Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Burma has announced it will release 6313 prisoners on Saturday, from prisons across the country, state television and radio reported on Friday.
The announcement, however, did not mention whether political prisoners would be included among those released. Burma’s ruling junta has persistently denied the presence of political prisoners in the country.
The announcement came a day after UN human rights expert Tomas Ojea Quintana wound up a six-day visit to Burma on Thursday.
A journalist in Rangoon told Mizzima, “It could be a move by the ruling junta to save face after Quintana visited the country.”
But he added that it was unlikely that political prisoners would be included among those freed. “Most of those released would probably be criminals and robbers,” he added.
But sadly, despite the announcement both on television and radio, people remain unaware of the overwhelming nature of the news as they could not tune in to their TV sets due to electricity failure.
“I heard it from a friend but I cannot watch TV, because there is no electricity,” a Rangoon-based correspondent said.
Meanwhile, a court in Rangoon on Thursday reduced 8 and half years of the imprisonment term of blogger Nay Phone Latt, leaving him to serve 12 years. Aye Aye Than, mother of Nay Phone Latt told Mizzima, “The Yangon [Rangoon] Divisional Court today announced that 8 and a half years have been reduced from my son’s imprisonment term.”
Nay Phone Latt, who was arrested on January 2008, was sentenced to a total of 20 and half years under various counts including the Electronic Act and Video Act.
Nay Phone Latt is the fourth political prisoner, whose sentence has been reduced since last week, just before the UN human rights expert paid a second visit to Burma.
Other political prisoners include, popular comedian Zargarnar, Kay Thi Aung and Wai Myo Htoo.