Myanmar Frees Prominent Political Prisoners

Published January 13, 2012 4:36AM (EST)

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Myanmar has freed several prominent political prisoners, which has been a key condition set by Western countries for easing sanctions against the country.

Myanmar authorities freed the prisoners Friday as part of a presidential pardon for 651 detainees. Relatives and supporters of activists and ethnic minority politicians confirmed their release.

Myanmar state radio and television announced said that the 651 detainees were being freed to take part in "nation-building."

Those freed included Min Ko Naing, a nearly legendary student leader from Myanmar's failed 1988 pro-democracy uprising.

The prisoner release is the latest in a flurry of reforms by the new, nominally civilian government that is seeking international legitimacy through democratic reforms after years of military repression.

By Salon Staff

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