Myanmar, under pressure from the International Labor Organization (ILO) to end forced labour, has freed an activist lawyer jailed last year after exposing abuses, an official said on Monday.
Aye Myint, a member of democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD), was released on Saturday from a prison in Bago, some 80 kms north of Yangon, NLD spokesman Myint Thein said.
Aye Myint, aged in his early 50s, was sentenced to seven years in prison for reporting government labour abuses of farmers to the ILO.
"He was suddenly released on Saturday. I cannot think of any reason for his release other than pressure from the ILO," the NLD spokesman said.
The ILO has been trying for almost a decade to get Myanmar's military government to crack down on forced labour. In 1998 an ILO inquiry found that forced labour was pervasive and systematic throughout the country, particularly with the military.
The UN labour agency gave Myanmar until July 31 to release anyone jailed for complaining about forced labour. The ILO office in Yangon could not be reached for comment Monday.
Myanmar could face sanctions if it fails to comply.
Last month the military government released Su Su Nway, a 33-year-old rights activist who was imprisoned last year after suing village officials for imposing forced labour.
Su Su Nway is also a member of the NLD.