Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Activists: Myanmar clinging to political prisoners

Published:Friday | October 31, 2014 | 12:00 AM


Myanmar has freed more than a thousand political prisoners since former military rulers handed over power three years ago, a move that has smoothed the former pariah state's international rehabilitation. Now the government said the job is done. Human-rights activists and the US said, not so fast.

President Thein Sein is preparing to disband a committee that determined which inmates were eligible for pardons and amnesties, even though its most outspoken member said more than two dozen prisoners still deserve to be released, including a monk who angered many fellow Buddhists and an air force pilot who complained about mistreatment.

As Myanmar prepares to host the November 12-13 East Asian Summit, to be attended by President Barack Obama, the fate of the remaining prisoners is one of the nagging international concerns over what's proving a bumpy change to democracy, also troubled by sectarian violence against minority Muslims and the military's continuing grip on politics.

Meanwhile, jails are again filling up with hundreds of dissenters, including writers, peaceful protesters and farmers who stood up against land grabs by the rich and powerful.