Burma Sets 73 Political Prisoners Free

But protesters still face arrest: activists

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Jul 23, 2013 8:28 AM CDT

(Newser) – Following up on a promise made while in Europe, Burma's president is reportedly setting 73 political prisoners free today, adding to hundreds already let go. "The total number of remaining political prisoners has now dropped to lower than 100 for the first time in many years," says an official. President Thein Sein has pledged to release all the country's political prisoners by year's end. Different organizations offer different figures as to how many remain, Reuters notes; the AP puts the number at around 200 before today's releases, with 69 released today, according to an official.

The country has a 19-member committee to determine which prisoners are in jail over politics and which have committed non-political crimes. The committee includes 10 ex-political prisoners. But activists say the president is releasing people too slowly and for image reasons—and protesters are still getting arrested. "It's important to remember that many still remain in prison and all the repressive laws that put them there are still in place," notes one.

Win Thaw, left, and Win Hla, right, political prisoners who were released after receiving amnesty from President Thein Sein, stand outside the entrance of a prison today.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
Chit Thura Ko Ko, a political prisoner who was released from Insein Prison after receiving amnesty from President Thein Sein, talks to journalists outside the entrance of the prison.   (AP Photo/Khin Maung Win)
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