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Myanmar amnesty for 6,300 prisoners

world Updated: Oct 12, 2011 01:03 IST

Myanmar state radio and television announced on Tuesday that the country's president has granted amnesty to more than 6,300 prisoners in what appears to be the biggest step so far in a series of reform actions undertaken by the new elected government.

The broadcasts said the releases would begin on Wednesday, a religious holiday, but did not specify how many political detainees were among the 6,359 receiving an amnesty from President Thein Sein.

The release of at least some of the country's estimated 2,000 political prisoners has been hotly anticipated as a crucial step in liberalising measures implemented by the military-backed but elected government that took power in March.

Most prominent political prisoners are held in facilities far from the country's main city of Yangon, a policy implemented under the previous military regime.

The broadcast said a list of the prisoners had been prepared, but did not read it out.

Myanmar's tightly controlled state newspapers had published an appeal Tuesday morning for a release of political prisoners, a sign that the move had official blessing. The appeal in the three state newspapers, which closely reflect government positions, was an open letter from the government-appointed National Human Rights Commission calling on Thein Sein.