Myanmar begins releasing political prisoners, over 8,000 others in New Year amnesty

Myanmar began releasing more than 8,000 prisoners on humanitarian grounds under a presidential pardon on Tuesday. Most of those being released were convicted of drug offences but 36 people were classified as political prisoners, Reuters said. The pardon, signed by newly elected President Win Myint, coincides with Myanmar’s traditional New Year celebrations. The move is aimed at promoting peace and the joy of the people, the president’s office said in a statement. “To bring peace and pleasure… and for the sake of humanitarian support, 8,490 prisoners” will be pardoned, the office said.