Yangon – Myanmar’s new leadership ordered the release of 83 more political prisoners on Sunday, the first day of the country’s traditional New Year.
The presidential pardon, issued on Saturday, was granted “with an aim to bring about national reconciliation and to ensure the peace of mind of the people on this New Year’s occasion,” state media reported.
Nearly 200 political activists imprisoned by the former military-backed government walked free from detention on April 8 after charges against them were dropped.
Just a day beforehand, Myanmar’s state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, said that all of the country’s remaining political prisoners would be freed as soon as possible.
The releases come less than a month after a new government took power in Myanmar, the country’s first civilian-led administration in over five decades, led by Suu Kyi confidant President Htin Kyaw.
The full list of those being released Sunday was not disclosed, but five journalists from the Unity Weekly journal would be among them, said local media reports citing family members.
They had been sentenced in 2014 to 10 years in prison for disclosing state secrets, after their newspaper reported on the building of an alleged chemical weapons factory in central Myanmar.