Burma frees high-profile dissidents in amnesty

Burma’s most important political dissidents have been freed – the latest of a series of prisoner amnesties.

Those freed include veterans of the 1988 student protest movement, monks involved in the 2007 demonstrations and ethnic-minority activists.

The highest profile is Min Ko Naing, a leader of the failed 1988 uprising.

State TV had announced that 651 prisoners would be freed under a new presidential pardon, but did not say how many would be political prisoners.

Burma has faced calls from the international community to free more dissidents.

The BBC’s South East Asia correspondent Rachel Harvey says the names of those released read like a who’s who of Burma’s most prominent political detainees.

Given the stature of those set free, this could be the most significant breakthrough yet in Burma’s moves towards reform, she says.

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