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Myanmar urged to free political prisoners

YANGON, Myanmar, Sept. 23 (UPI) -- More than 2,000 political prisoners remain behind bars in Myanmar three years after the "Saffron Revolution," Amnesty International said Thursday.

The group said that is twice the number who were imprisoned before the 2007 protests against high food and fuel prices. Amnesty International called on the government of the country formerly known as Burma to free everyone who is being held for political reasons.

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"While the international community, including Myanmar's ASEAN neighbors, has been calling for free, fair and inclusive elections there, the plight of thousands of political prisoners has been overlooked," Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International's Myanmar researcher, said.

The prisoners are barred from participating in the election scheduled for November or from belonging to political parties.

"The longstanding problem of political imprisonment in Myanmar remains very much at the heart of the political impasse in the country," Zawacki said. "These prisoners constitute a significant part of the political opposition."

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