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Burma Releases Common Criminals, Few Dissidents - 2004-11-27


Burma's military government says it has fulfilled a pledge to release thousands of jail inmates this week, but there were very few political prisoners among them.

A prison department source said today (Saturday) that all 9,248 prison inmates promised freedom under the mass release program had been set free by late Friday.

However, most of those released were common criminals. Burmese officials say only 10 opposition dissidents were freed on Friday.

Burma says the inmates were wrongly detained by the recently-disbanded security apparatus, the National Intelligence Bureau. The agency was headed by ousted Burmese Prime Minister General Khin Nyunt.

The release comes before a summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations that begins in Laos on Monday.

Information for this story is provided by Reuters and AFP.

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