Myanmar frees prisoners ahead of Obama visit

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Myanmar frees prisoners ahead of Obama visit

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Authorities in Myanmar have released hundreds of prisoners as a goodwill gesture ahead of Barack Obama’s historic visit next week.

State media claims more than 450 inmates were set free to help promote the bilateral relationship.
But activists and the main opposition party said there seemed to be no political detainees among them.

A spokesman for the National League for Democracy party of Aung San Suu Kyi said there was no sign at all.

Senior party member Nie Nie said: “In this case, they are lying to Obama that they are releasing political prisoners. I wouldn’t say that this is related to Obama’s visit. I think the information released in the newspaper is not accurate – they didn’t free any political prisoners.”

Myanmar has released about 800 political prisoners as part of a dramatic reform programme over the past year and a half but it is believed to be still holding several hundred.

Obama will become the first U.S. president to visit the country but he risks being criticised for rewarding the new government too soon, especially with political prisoners still behind bars…