There was a lot of anticipation when the regime announced that their would be a release of prisoners, and as usual the question was how many political prisoners will be released? The tactic of releasing political prisoners in order to relieve international pressure is a common tactic that has been utilized by Burma’s generals over the years.
Says the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners – Burma (AAPP-B) “The use of amnesties by past regimes has come at times of mounting international pressure and been used as tokens of change, rather than substance of change. This week’s prisoner release does not suggest anything different from earlier amnesties. Even until today, the U Thein Sein regime in no way publicly acknowledges the existence of political prisoners. This is not a matter of semantics, rather a point which sheds light on how much honesty and transparency U Thein Sein regime is willing to expose.”
We are happy for the 220 political prisoners who were released, but there are still 1,700 behind bars. All of them need to be released. Take a look at this photo gallery of former political prisoners standing up for their friends who are still behind bars. The photographs are taken from “Abhaya – Burma’s Fearlessness” a photography book by James Mackay that will be published by River Books in November
We have seen the regime do this many times before, and we will keep on fighting until all political prisoners are free.