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Suu Kyi says presidential commutation not ‘amnesty’

Rangoon (Mizzima) – Watch your language…that’s the message Aung San Suu Kyi sent to Burmese state-run newspapers, where a recent headline said, ‘Government grants amnesty for prisoners’.

Aung San Suu Kyi addresses a group of NLD members at headquarters in Rangoon in this file photo. Photo: MizzimaBurma’s pro-democracy leader said on Thursday that the one –year commutation on all prison sentences ordered by President Thein Sein should not be labeled as an ‘amnesty’.

Her remarks were part of a press conference held in her lakeside home in Rangoon after a two-hour meeting with US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Joseph Yun on Thursday.

‘The meaning of 'amnesty' in their usage is very controversial’, she said. ‘So, I looked it up in the dictionary. The word, ‘amnesty’ means an order by a government that allows prisoners to be free. So, the commutation ordered by the president was not an amnesty. It was just commuting sentences. It was just a reduction in severities of punishments. Death sentences were commuted to life sentences and other prison terms were commuted by one year. It is just a commutation, not an amnesty', Suu Kyi said in answer to a journalist’s question. 

In the meeting with Yun, Suu Kyi talked about her view of the new government and the issue of granting all political prisoners amnesty, according to sources.

Suu Kyi said that she believed in a policy of direct engagement between the Burmese government and the NLD in order to reach an agreements in areas that affect the country

She also said that she might travel to various townships within two months. On May 17, Burma began releasing about 14,600 prisoners across the country under the one-year commutation ordered by President Thein Sein.

According to the latest figures, 55 (0.3 percent) of the 14,600 prisoners are political prisoners and 27 of the 55 political prisoners are NLD members.

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 May 2011 19:33 )  

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