The ice might be breaking in Burma: The nation's rulers today announced that they will grant amnesty to 6,359 prisoners beginning tomorrow, sparking hopes among democracy advocates that the 2,000-some political prisoners being held will be among them. The government didn't explicitly say political prisoners would be included, reports the AFP, but their release has long been a sticking point in lifting international sanctions on Burma. A senior US diplomat hailed the "dramatic developments," adding, "We will match their steps."
"We welcome the amnesty announcement. This is very good news and we hope that political prisoners will be among those freed," says a spokesman for Aung San Suu Kyi. The move isn't unprecedented: Burma's president granted another amnesty shortly after he took office, but the release included only a few dozen political prisoners, notes the AP.