14 Jul 2009

Myanmar to release some political prisoners

9:22 pm on 14 July 2009

Myanmar's envoy to the United Nations has announced that some political prisoners will be released ahead of planned elections in 2010.

Ambassador Than Swe told the Security Council on Monday Myanmar is planning to amnesty prisoners to enable them to take part in national elections next year, at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

But the ambassador did not say how many prisoners would be released, or when, or whether they would include key figures such as opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

During a visit to Myanmar on July 3-4, Mr Ban pressed the ruling Myanmar junta to free all political prisoners, including Suu Kyi, who is currently on trial.

He was turned away from meeting her.

Rights groups say there are more than 2,000 political prisoners in Myanmar.