Jan. 13 - Political prisoners begin to walk free from Myanmar's prisons as the reclusive country continues to open up. Sunita Rappai reports.
A sight they thought they'd never see - political prisoners in Myanmar walk free. Up to 651 prisoners will be released from prisons around the country in a process of radical reforms initiated by the country's new civilian government. It was allowed to assume control last March after almost half a century of rule by the military. Among the released were former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt and the chairman of the former Shan Nationalities League for Democracy, Khun Tun Oo. The government has also started talks with Nobel peace laureate and democracy activist Aung San Suu Kyi who was finally released from house arrest in 2010. Both Europe and the U.S. have said that freeing political prisoners is crucial to the consideration of lifting economic sanctions that have isolated this former British colony. The next step in the reform process - which has included the relaxing of media restrictions - will be April by-elections, in which Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy are due to take part. Sunita Rappai, Reuters