Myanmar will free 5,000 prisoners, the military government said Thursday, just a week after it released nearly 4,000 prisoners, including some held for political reasons. There was no indication that detained Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi would be freed.
The prisoner releases, announced on state radio and television, coincided with the opening of an Association of Southeast Asian Nations summit Thursday in Laos, where Myanmar's hard-line policies are expected to face scrutiny.
Last week's announced releases of 3,937 inmates generated international approval and calls by the United Nations, the United States and Britain for the freedom of an estimated 1,200 political prisoners.
Western nations have imposed sanctions on Myanmar, formerly called Burma, for years, citing the junta's human rights violations, including the use of slave labor and forced labor, and its failure to hand over power to Suu Kyi's party after it won a 1990 general election.
She won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991.
Suu Kyi has been under house arrest at her Yangon residence since being detained after a deadly clash in May 2003 between her followers and government supporters.