US

New Myanmar government begins releasing political prisoners

  • Phyo Dana, center, a student protester who recently released from Thayarwaddy Prison with President's pardon, holds an alms bowl upside-down, symbol of protest, during a gathering near Shwedagon pagoda Friday, April 8, 2016, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

    Phyo Dana, center, a student protester who recently released from Thayarwaddy Prison with President's pardon, holds an alms bowl upside-down, symbol of protest, during a gathering near Shwedagon pagoda Friday, April 8, 2016, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)  (The Associated Press)

  • Phyo Dana, center, a student protester who was recently released from Thayarwaddy Prison with President's pardon, holds an alms bowl upside-down, symbol of protest, during a gathering near Shwedagon pagoda Friday, April 8, 2016, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

    Phyo Dana, center, a student protester who was recently released from Thayarwaddy Prison with President's pardon, holds an alms bowl upside-down, symbol of protest, during a gathering near Shwedagon pagoda Friday, April 8, 2016, in Yangon, Myanmar. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)  (The Associated Press)

Myanmar's government has begun releasing political prisoners under a plan announced by the country's new de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar media reported that more than 60 students arrested a year ago during a protest over education reforms were released Friday by a court in the central town of Tharrawaddy. The releases were part of a general amnesty that also covered other convicts ahead of Myanmar's traditional New Year festival, often the occasion for prisoner releases.

Rights groups estimated that 100 political detainees remained in prison when a military-backed government was succeeded by Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy party late last month. About 400 others were being held pending trial, including those freed in Tharrawaddy.