The Centre for Law and Democracy is very pleased to note that the Burmese government has just announced that it is freeing 691 prisoners in a general amnesty, including a large number of high profile dissidents. Although this is a positive development, it is important to note that up to 1500 political prisoners remain in jail in Burma.
Included among the 691 are five video journalists – Sithu Zeya, U Zeya, Hla Hla Win, Ngwe Soe Lin, Win Maw – who were arrested for reporting for the Democratic Voice of Burma. CLD issued a detailed report on the legal flaws in the cases against these five, as part of the “Free Burma VJ” campaign.
“We welcome this positive step,” said Toby Mendel, Executive Director of the Centre for Law and Democracy. “It is wonderful news that these prisoners are being released, but the Burmese government needs to take steps to address the illegal detention of all political prisoners.”
Although the five journalists named as part of the “Free Burma VJ” campaign have now been released, eight other DVB journalists remain in prison. The DVB has declined to name these journalists over concerns for them and the safety of their families.