Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Suu Kyi's party skeptical on Myanmar amnesty claim

YANGON (AFP) — Myanmar's opposition party has said it was skeptical the military junta would release political prisoners including its leader Aung San Suu Kyi, despite new assurances given to the UN.

The possible amnesty was announced by Myanmar's UN ambassador Than Swe to diplomats in New York after UN chief Ban Ki-moon demanded the release of key political detainees ahead of national polls planned for next year.

But Myanmar's state media is yet to confirm the prisoner release and in the most recent amnesty, in February, only a handful of political detainees were among the 6,300 prisoners let out.

"We would welcome it if they released political prisoners in an amnesty but very few political prisoners have been included in previous amnesties," said National League for Democracy (NLD) spokesman Nyan Win.

Than Swe said the release was being prepared to allow the prisoners to contest next year's elections that critics have derided as a sham intended to entrench the generals' power.

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