Burma.. Military Council releases 6,000 prisoners

The military authorities in power in Burma agreed yesterday to release some 6,000 prisoners, including a former British ambassador, a Japanese journalist and an Australian adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s overthrown civilian government.

A senior Burmese official told Agence France-Presse that former British ambassador Vicki Bowman, Australian economic adviser Sean Tornell and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota “will be released in occasion of the national holiday of the country”.

Bowman, who served as ambassador from 2002 to 2006 with her husband, was arrested in August for failing to report that she lived at an address other than the one listed on her alien’s certificate of registration, and were sentenced to one year of imprisonment. The official added that her husband, famed artist Htin Lin, will also be released.

Australian Sean Turnell was working as an adviser to Burmese civilian leader Suu Kyi when he was arrested shortly after a military coup in February last year. As for the Japanese, Kubota, 26, was arrested in July near an anti-government demonstration in Yangon with two Burmese nationals, and was sentenced to 10 years in prison.