THE IRRAWADDY (Burma)
NAYPYIDAW – The Burmese government is planning to free all political prisoners by July, reports The Irrawaddy.
As opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi was in Oslo receiving the Nobel Prize she was awarded in 1991, Industry Minister Soe Thane, not to be outshined, announced that President Thein Sein had decided to release all political prisoners by the end of July. Thein Sein is "committed to democracy like Nobel Laureate Suu Kyi," said Soe Thane.
The Minister stated that no violent criminals would be freed, something that Mye Aye, leader of the pro-democracy movement 88 Students Generation considers to be "controversial." The activist, a former political prisoner, told The Irrawady that "There is a gray area between political prisoners and violent criminals."
According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), there are currently 471 political prisoners and 465 more whose whereabouts have not yet been verified.
The unconditional release of all political prisoners was one of the benchmarks set by the E.U. for the lifting on economic sanctions on Burma.