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Myanmar Frees Opposition Members

June 5, 2002

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YANGON, Myanmar (AP) _ Myanmar’s military junta released nine members of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party Wednesday, a government statement said.

The members of the National League for Democracy, or NLD, were released ``in good health and reunited with their respective families,″ it said.

The government has been regularly releasing NLD members since the two sides began secret reconciliation talks in October 2000 to end the country’s 12-year political standoff.

Suu Kyi was freed from 19 months’ house arrest on May 6. She said then that the release of political prisoners _ estimated by human rights groups to number about 1,500 _ was among her top priorities.

But the Nobel Peace Prize laureate said she and the NLD were ``disappointed with the slow rate of the release of political prisoners.″

This is the second group of NLD members to be freed since Suu Kyi’s release. Some 281 political prisoners have been freed since the U.N.-brokered reconciliation talks began in October 2000.

A Western-led embargo on most foreign aid was imposed after the military crushed nationwide democracy demonstrations in 1988, killing thousands of civilians. The regime later refused to honor the 1990 general election victory by the National League for Democracy.

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