Myanmar’s main opposition party on Wednesday welcomed the release of 7,000 prisoners but reiterated calls for the ruling junta to free Aung San Suu Kyi and other political detainees.
Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) issued a statement almost one week after the military regime announced that it was freeing the prisoners so they could vote in elections due next year.
“The NLD warmly welcomes the release of 7,114 national prisoners that included some 100 political prisoners from prisons on September 17,” the statement said.
“However we also call for the unconditional and immediate release of all political prisoners including the NLD vice chair Tin Oo and general secretary Aung San Suu Kyi,” it said.
Suu Kyi had her house arrest extended by 18 months in August after she was convicted over an incident in which an American man swam uninvited to the lakeside house where she is detained in May.
Tin Oo has also been under house arrest since 2003.
The statement said Suu Kyi and Tin Oo “have been always trying for dialogue and national reconciliation”, as had jailed members of ethnic minority groups and students who led mass pro-democracy protests in 1988.
The NLD said Tuesday that it had written to junta chief Than Shwe urging him to allow its central executive committee to meet Suu Kyi and Tin Oo so they could discuss the elections.
The polls are being held under a new constitution that was passed in a controversial referendum in 2008, days after a devastating cyclone killed 138,000 people in Myanmar.
Critics say the polls are a sham through which the military regime wants to legitimise its hold on power.
Myanmar has been ruled by the military since 1962.