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AP: 60 Activists Released after US
- Subject: AP: 60 Activists Released after US
- From: ktint@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
- Date: Fri, 31 May 1996 08:23:00
Subject: AP: 60 Activists Released after US Plan to Lobby
60 ACTIVISTS RELEASED AFTER US PLAN TO LOBBY IN ASIA
By ROBERT HORN
Associated Press Writer
RANGOON, Burma (AP) -- Burma's military regime released at least 60 of
262 detained pro-democracy activists today, a week after rounding them up
to bar their attendance at a crucial opposition meeting.
Government radio announced that the junta was freeing its "guests."
Opposition leaders confirmed that at least 60 people were released, but
it was not known when the other jailed dissidents would be released, or
even if they would be.
The release may reflect an easing of tensions following the biggest
confrontation between pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and the ruling
military since her release from six years of house arrest last July.
Departing from its usual harsh words, the state-run news media today
refrained from calling Suu Kyi a "stooge" of foreign powers and a "maggot."
The activists were freed hours after the United States announced plans
to send an envoy to Burma to seek their release. The envoy also was to
travel to nearby countries to coordinate a response to the crackdown.
The Burmese authorities "should not be let off scot-free," U.S. State
Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said in Washington.
Scores of activists arrested last week still languished in custody. The
opposition predicted that those the regime considers a particular threat
will not be freed.
Some have already been sent to Insein Prison near Rangoon, notorious for
torture, and face national security charges that allow indefinite
Those freed reported no ill-treatment, the opposition said. They had
been held at military mess halls and clubs and at houses kept by the feared
The three-day opposition meeting that started Sunday was intended to
bring together opposition candidates who won 392 of 485 seats in 1990
parliamentary elections. The junta never allowed that Parliament to
Many of the opposition candidates have since been killed, jailed or exiled.
Suu Kyi, winner of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for her nonviolent
promotion of democracy, held the arrest-depleted conference anyway and
pledged to hold more in the future.
Conference delegates urged the military, which has ruled Burma since
1962, to get out of politics.