Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – High hopes that all political prisoners would be granted amnesty by the new Burmese government were dashed on Monday, when it announced that it would subtract one year from the sentences of all prisoners.
During an evening broadcast, the army-run Myawaddy TV station announced that the reduction of prison sentences and a commutation of all death sentences to life imprisonment would start on Tuesday, May 17, known in Burma as Kasone Full Moon Day, a religious holiday.
‘This is not an amnesty. It’s just a shortening of the prison sentences, and it’s not a gesture toward national reconciliation’, said Ohn Kyaing, a spokesman for the National League for Democracy.
In recent months, dozens of pro-democracy political parties and ethnic groups have called on the newly elected government to release all political prisoners as a gesture of national reconciliation, noting that past governments that have come to power have made similar moves. Western governments including the United States and the European Union have called for the release of all political prisoners as a step toward the removal of economic sanctions against Burma
Under the former military junta led by former Senior General Than Shwe, death sentences were sometimes commuted to life imprisonment.
The move is not entirely unexpected. Recently, when newly elected President Thein Sein made his inaugural remarks in Parliament, he failed to mention the issue of political prisoners.
When Vijay Nambiar, the special Burma envoy of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, visited Burma last week he was told by Dr. Nay Zin Latt, a member of the political affairs committee, that Burma did not have any political prisoners.
what do you want?? 1 Year Amnesty for All is enough to show you we will cooperate,hehe
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