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Burma Releases 16 Political Prisoners - 2003-12-05


Burma's military rulers have released 16 supporters of democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who were arrested after a clash with a pro-government mob in May.

A military intelligence officer (Brigadier General Than Tun) told a news conference today (Friday) that the National League for Democracy party members were freed Wednesday.

The officer said he did not know when other prisoners might be released.

The military government arrested more than 130 NLD members after a clash with a pro-government mob (May 30th).

Aung San Suu Kyi was detained in a secret location after the violence until she went to a hospital for surgery in September.

The opposition leader then was allowed to go home where she remains under house arrest. Last month she told U.N. human rights envoy Paulo Sergio Pinheiro that she will not accept her own freedom until all NLD figures held since May are released.

The NLD won a landslide victory in the 1990 general election, but the military never allowed the party to govern.

Since 1990, Aung San Suu Kyi has been kept under several periods of house arrest. Her latest detention halted reconciliation talks she had begun with the ruling generals in more than three years ago (October, 2000).

Information for this report is provided by AP and Reuters.

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