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Reuters reporters not among 9,500 prisoners granted amnesty in Myanmar

AFP  |  Yangon 

started releasing more than 9,500 prisoners on Wednesday as part of its annual amnesty marking the country's traditional new year, but journalists and will not be included, said an NGO advocating for political prisoners.

announced in a statement Wednesday the pardons were granted on humanitarian grounds during the Buddhist new year festival known as Thingyan.

A total of 16 foreign prisoners are expected to be pardoned and deported, while 9,535 local prisoners are expected to be freed, said.

But an NGO that helps political prisoners said the release will not include journalists and

The duo were sentenced to seven years under the after reporting on the military's atrocities committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority in strive-torn Rakhine state -- work which they received a Pulitzer prize for on Monday.

"They will not be included. We got this information from an Insein prison source," said Bo Kyi, of the (AAPP).

"Journalists should not be imprisoned... That directly contradicts with democracy." also reported that and were not among those being pardoned.

According to AAPP, there are currently 46 political prisoners in Myanmar's jails and around 300 others are facing trials linked to political activities.

By 6 pm (1130 GMT), told AFP he had received word of only two political prisoners released, and the amnesty process might continue through the next day. has freed thousands from its jails since a military junta ceded power in 2011 after five decades of brutal repression.

But of Fortify Rights said Wednesday's amnesty should have extended to anti-war activists and Zau Jet, who were jailed last year for demonstrating against the decades-long fighting between the military and ethnic Kachin insurgents.

"The amnesty could have also included the many Rohingya men and boys who have been unjustly jailed with no fair trial in Rakhine State on terrorism-related offenses," Quinley told AFP.

"Many of these men and boys are farmers and should be urgently freed.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, April 17 2019. 18:40 IST