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300 Rohingya prisoners released with Presidential Amnesty

Maungdaw, Arakan State: 300 Rohingya prisoners were released from Buthidaung Prison as a result of the Presidential Amnesty on May 19, according to a released prisoner from Maungdaw.

“Prisoners who had nearly completed their terms or had just completed their prison terms were released from Buthidaung Prison,” the prisoner said. “There were 341 prisoners released, and among them 300 are Rohingya.”

Buthidaung Prison is situated in Buthidaung Township of northern Arakan State in western Burma.

The prisoners were released as part of a nationwide amnesty recently announced by Burmese president U Thein Sein.

President Thein Sein has also ordered prison terms reduced by one year for all prisoners in Burma. There are an estimated 60,000 prisoners being held in 42 prisons and 109 worksites around the country. In Arakan State, there are four prisons - Sittwe, Buthidaung, Kyauk Pru, and Thandwe.

Some of the prisoners in Buthidaung Prison are political prisoners, but none of these prisoners were released.

However, a Rohingya man who was recently released from Buthidaung Prison said that one political prisoner was released recently, but he was unable to confirm the name of the prisoner.

Human rights groups have slammed the presidential move as a sham that aims to ease economic sanctions by the West, as there were very few political prisoners among those released.