Myanmar junta to release 700 prisoners including British ambassador, Japan journalist

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Myanmar’s junta said Thursday it will release 700 prisoners, including a former British ambassador, a Japanese journalist and an Australian adviser to Aung San Suu Kyi's ousted government.

Former British envoy Vicky Bowman, Australian economics adviser Sean Turnell and Japanese journalist Toru Kubota “will be released to mark National Day,” a senior officer told AFP.

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Bowman, who served as ambassador from 2002 to 2006, was detained with her husband in August for failing to declare she was living at an address different from the one listed on her foreigner's registration certificate.

They were later jailed for one year. Her husband, prominent artist Htein Lin, will also be released, the official said.

Sean Turnell was working as an adviser to Myanmar's civilian leader Suu Kyi when he was detained shortly after the coup in February last year.

In September, he and Suu Kyi were convicted by a closed junta court of breaching the official secrets act and jailed for three years each.

Kubota, 26, was detained in July near an anti-government rally in Yangon along with two Myanmar citizens and jailed for 10 years.

Families gathered outside Insein prison in Yangon ahead of the expected announcement, an AFP reporter said.

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