YANGON (Reuters) - Myanmar’s junta has released 15 activists arrested two weeks ago for trying to march to the house of detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi, the former Burma’s main opposition party said on Tuesday.
“One of them phoned me saying they had been freed last night. I haven’t met them in person yet,” Nyan Win, a spokesman for Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) told Reuters.
The 15 were detained while marching from the NLD’s headquarters to Suu Kyi’s house on May 27 with a banner calling for her release from five years of house arrest.
Hours after the arrest, the junta extended the detention order on the Nobel laureate, who has now spent nearly 13 of the last 19 years in prison or under house arrest. The date was also the 18th anniversary of the NLD’s crushing victory in a 1990 election that was subsequently ignored by the military, which has ruled since a 1962 coup.
There has also been no word on the whereabouts of celebrated comedian and anti-government activist Zarganar since his arrest on June 3 shortly after he made public comments criticizing the government’s sluggish response to Cyclone Nargis.
“One of the security officers who arrested him came back to question us a few days ago but didn’t tell us anything about him,” one family member, who did not wish to be identified, said.
Human rights group Amnesty International estimated there were more 1,100 political prisoners in Myanmar before September’s crackdown on monk-led anti-regime protests.
More than 700 people picked up during and after the demonstrations remained behind bars, Amnesty said in April.
Reporting by Aung Hla Tun, Writing by Ed Cropley; Editing by Darren Schuettler