YANGON (Reuters) – Only three political prisoners were among thousands of people granted amnesty by the Myanmar government this week and rights group said the release was apparently aimed at improving the country’s image before a visit by the US president.
Myanmar said on Tuesday it was releasing 3,073 prisoners for the sake of “peace and stability” and the rule of law”, but it gave no details of who they were or why they had been imprisoned.
The release came just over a month before Myanmar hosts a summit of leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) that US President Barack Obama and other world leaders are expected to attend.
The government has in the past attempted to bolster its reformist credentials by releasing political prisoners, often shortly before major diplomatic meetings, but a Myanmar right group and Amnesty International said only three political prisoners were among the 3,073.
The Myanmar group Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP), said of those released, 2,989 had almost finished serving their prison terms for various ordinary crimes.