Sunday, 17 November 2019

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Free political prisoners now: 88 Generation leaders

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Leaders of the 88-Generation Students group issued a statement on Thursday calling for the new Parliament to grant a general amnesty to all political prisoners.

The front page of the statement by the 88 Generation Students group calling for a general amnesty for all political prisoners and genuine movement toward national reconciliation. Issued on the eve of Union Day, the statement also calls for the immediate implementation of  national reconciliation.

‘They claimed that this [new Parliament] is a  new political dimension and environment’, Myo Yannaung Thein, an 88-Generation Student leader, told Mizzima. ‘In this new political dimension, they should get rid of all the old political dimensions. The old laws enacted in their old political dimension should not exist anymore’.

The Assistance Association of Political Prisoners (AAPP) joint secretary Bo Kyi, responding to the statement, said: ‘We can assess if their new political dimension is really a new one only after seeing whether the political prisoners are released or not, and whether they are allowed to play in this new political dimension.’

Myo Yannaung Thein said, ‘If this new government really focuses on national reconciliation, they should issue an executive order granting general amnesty’.

The statement said that all national civic groups should join hands in calling for the release of political prisoners,  noting that it was a major campaign issue for many political parties.

Amnesty has been granted in Burma three times in the post-independence era.

The first time was in 1963 prior to holding a peace talk; in 1974, after the approval of the 1974 Constitution and the convening of the first session of parliament under that constitution; and in 1980, when talks for internal peace were being held.

Under the 2008 Constitution, the president has the power to grant amnesty in accord with the recommendation of the National Defence and Security Council.

The new president, Thein Sein, is the former chairman of the United Solidarity and Development Party and a retired general.


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