Myanmar junta frees six more politicians

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YANGON, Oct 30 (Reuters) Myanmar's junta has freed six prominent politicians arrested during last month's crackdown, including three senior members of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, a party official said today.

''They were taken from Insein Central Prison to their homes at about 10 pm (local time),'' NLD spokesman Nyan Win said.

Among those released was veteran politician Win Naing who was arrested on September 25 at the height of protests led by monks against 45 years of army rule in the former Burma.

The other five were detained on September 27 as the army crushed the biggest anti-junta protests in two decades. Official media reported 10 people were killed, but Western governments say the real toll is likely to be far higher.

The five included senior NLD members Myint Thein, Han Zaw and Lei Lei, and Pu Chin Sian and Thang Htaung Kho Htan -- both members of an alliance of opposition parties.

The junta says nearly 3,000 people and Buddhist monks were arrested, although all but a few hundred have been released.

Suspicions remain that other political detainees are being sent to prisons outside Yangon ahead of scheduled visits next month by two United Nations special envoys.

The UN's main point-man on Myanmar, Ibrahim Gambari, is due to visit in the first week of November at the end of a six-country Asian diplomatic tour to try to coerce the generals into talks with Suu Kyi, who is under house arrest in Yangon.

His first trip to the generals' new jungle capital resulted in the appointment of retired general Aung Kyi as a go-between for Suu Kyi and Senior General Than Shwe, who is widely known to loathe the 62-year-old Nobel laureate.

Aung Kyi held a 75-minute meeting with Suu Kyi last week, although it is not known what the pair discussed.

Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy (NLD) party won a 1990 election by a landslide, only to be denied power by the military, which has ruled since a 1962 coup. She has spent 12 of the last 18 years in detention.

UN Human rights rapporteur Paulo Sergio Pinheiro is slated to fly in shortly after Gambari's visit.

It will be the Brazilian law professor's first visit in four years, and he has told reporters he will be demanding unrestricted access to all prisons.

REUTERS RJ BD2325

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