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Fifty-six political prisoners to be released in Burma

UPDATE from Mizzima News: 200 more political prisoners to be released in Myanmar by year-end (25 November 2013)

On Tuesday 8 October 2013, Myanmar began freeing dozens of its remaining detained activists, officials said, after the country vowed to release all prisoners of conscience by the end of the year.

"Our government will release 56 political prisoners," presidential adviser Hla Maung Shwe told AFP, in comments confirmed by correctional department officials.

Hundreds of political detainees have been freed since President Thein Sein took power in March 2011, as part of sweeping reforms that have marked the former pariah's emergence from decades of junta rule.

But activists say authorities are continuing to prosecute dissidents and scores remain behind bars. They accuse the government of using the headline-grabbing releases for political gain and leverage with the international community.

Thein Sein, who travelled on Tuesday 8 October to a meeting of regional powers in Brunei, announced during his first visit to London in July that there would be "no prisoners of conscience in Myanmar" by the end of 2013.

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