Burma frees 450 prisoners before President Obama’s visit

The Burmese government today ordered the release of some 450 prisoners — both political prisoners and those convicted of common crimes — prior to the arrival of US President Barack Obama on Monday. Previously, such amnesties helped convince Western nations to ease sanctions against the country, which for decades was under repressive military rule.

A spokesperson for Aung San Suu Kyi said that they believe the action to be a “goodwill gesture.” The last such amnesty was given one week before Burma’s President Thein Sein visited the United Nations in New York.

(Cropped version of a photo by beckyfiedler via Flickr, using a CC-BY license.)