This Article is From Nov 19, 2012

Myanmar frees dozens of political prisoners: activist

Yangon: Myanmar released dozens of political prisoners on Monday in an amnesty coinciding with a landmark visit by US President Barack Obama, a pro-democracy activist told AFP.

Soe Tun, a leader of the 88 Generation student movement, said 44 political prisoners were released on Monday, and called for "all political prisoners" to be freed.

The pardon was confirmed by a senior member of Aung San Suu Kyi's opposition National League for Democracy party, who said 56 dissidents had been freed since Sunday, among them four NLD members.

Estimates vary of the number of political detainees. The Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, a Thailand-based campaign group, put the figure at 283 last month, before Monday's amnesty.

Myanmar has come under intense pressure to free scores of dissidents believed to be languishing inside its jails, with the international community calling for their freedom in return for warming relations with the former pariah state.

On Sunday, Myanmar said it would review prisoner cases in line with "international standards" and open its jails to the Red Cross, as part of efforts to burnish its reform credentials.

In a statement issued on the eve of Obama's visit, the Myanmar government also said it would invite the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights to establish an office in the former army-ruled nation.