Myanmar frees thousands of prisoners, including foreigners’

YANGON (TIP): Myanmar on July 30 ordered the release of thousands of prisoners including 210 foreigners, officials said, the latest in a series of amnesties under the reformist government that have seen sentences quashed for hundreds of dissidents.

Authorities acting on the instructions of President Thein Sein ordered some 6,966 detainees — 210 of them foreigners — to be freed across the country after they had been “well disciplined”, according to a post on the ministry of information website.

The release includes 155 Chinese nationals handed long jail sentences earlier this month for illegal logging in northern Myanmar, near the countries’ shared border, according to a home affairs ministry official who asked to remain anonymous because he was not authorised to speak to the press.

“More than 150 Chinese will be released in the amnesty,” he said without giving further details.

A second official from the corrections department also confirmed that Chinese nationals would be released.

The decision to jail the loggers sparked outraged editorials in Chinese state media, as well as a plea by Beijing to be “reasonable”.

It was not immediately clear if any political prisoners were among those to be freed in the latest amnesty.

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