YANGON, Jan. 13 (Xinhua) -- Myanmar former Prime Minister U Khin Nyunt was among as many as over 600 prisoners being freed by the government Friday under Thursday's amnesty order endorsed by President U Thein Sein, official sources confirmed.
Along with Khin Nyunt, 200 of his followers were also released. Among them are two of his sons -- Zaw Naing Oo, an ex-army officer, and Ye Naing Win, an ex-businessman, who were serving long years' jail terms for a number of economic offenses including export- import violations and illegal possession of public property.
Khin Nyunt, 73, was sentenced to a 44-year suspended sentence in July 2005 by a special court at Yangon's Insein Jail on such charges as including bribery and corruption.
He served the sentence by remaining under house arrest at his home instead of in prison after the sentence was handed down on him, according to early report.
Cited with "health reason", Khin Nyunt was removed from post in October 2004 on charge of involvement in major bribery and corruption cases, violation of the army discipline by his insubordination and commitment of certain acts which were said not legal.
Khin Nyunt, with a military rank of general then, was also military intelligence chief for the previous decades before being sacked.
Three days after his removal, Khin Nyunt's then National Intelligence Bureau was dissolved with dozens of his former intelligence officials being charged and put into prisons in connection with the bribery cases.
Khin Nyunt had ever been first secretary of the State Law and Restoration Council (renamed as State Peace and Development Council in 1997) since the military council took over the power of state in September 1988 at the height of the country's then political crisis until he became prime minister in August 2003 when he announced Myanmar's "Seven-Step Roadmap to Democracy" for the first time.
He was also a person known as bringing back a number of anti- government ethnic armed groups to the government's legal fold in its peace efforts and leading in building a number of transport infrastructure after the military take-over, analysts viewed.
According to the president's amnesty order, 651 prisoners are being freed from jails across the country starting Friday under Section 401/1 of Code of Criminal Procedure which is clarified as a legal right of action exercised by the president. The amnesty was aimed mainly at enabling them to take part in national reconciliation and political process.
The amnesty, which is being widely assessed to mostly include or all prisoners of conscience, is the fourth granted to the prisoners in the country since the new government assumed office on March 30 last year.
According to more official sources, in addition to ethnic Shan leader U Khun Tun Oo, student leaders Min Ko Naing, U Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Kyaw Min Yu/Jimmy and Phyo Min Thein, a number of other prominent political figures were also released. They include Shin Gambira,32, a leader of the All-Burmese Monks Alliance, who was involved in leading street demonstration in 2007. He was sentenced to 68 years in prison in 2007.