Burma Grants Amnesty to 6,300

Democracy advocates hope the group includes political prisoners
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2011 9:57 AM CDT
Burma Grants Amnesty to 6,300
A Myanmar activist holds up posters of imprisoned journalists of the Democratic Voice of Burma during a rally in front of Myanmar Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand, Friday, Sept. 9, 2011.   (AP Photo/Sakchai Lalit)

(Newser) – 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."

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"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. (Read more Myanmar stories.)

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