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Myanmar.. the release of hundreds of prisoners, including the British, Australians and Japanese

Myanmar’s military junta announced on Thursday it would release 700 prisoners, including a former British ambassador, a Japanese journalist and an Australian adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi’s deposed civilian government.

THE media locals reported that the army had pardoned 6,000 prisoners, including four foreigners. The independent news agency Myanmar Now reported that the junta had issued the pardon in occasion of the national day of Myanmar.

A senior Burmese official told AFP 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, an ambassador from 2002 to 2006 with her husband, was arrested in August for failing to state that she lived at an address other than the one listed on her alien registration certificate, and were sentenced to one year in prison.

The official added that her husband, famed artist Htin Lin, will also be released.

Australian Sean Turnell was working as an adviser to Myanmar civilian leader Suu Kyi when he was arrested shortly after the military coup in February last year.

In September, he and Suu Kyi were convicted in a closed military court of violating the Official Secrets Act and sentenced to three years in prison.

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.

An AFP correspondent said the prisoners’ families gathered in front of Insein Prison in Yangon ahead of the expected announcement.

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