The military government which rules Myanmar have said the country will hold multi-party elections in 2010 as part of its so-called roadmap to democracy, but critics say the polls are just a way for the generals to legitimise their control.

House arrest

The National League for Democracy (NLD) party, who's leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been under house arrest for most of the last 19 years, said it was not optimistic that any politicals activists would be among those freed on Tuesday.

"They have released prisoners like this in the past, but normally political prisoners were not among those released. We haven't got any information yet," Nyan Win, NLD spokesman, said.

The NLD won a landslide victory in elections in 1990 but the military refused to acknowledge the result, instead stepped up arrests and repression of dissidents.

The announcement came just days before the first anniversary of massive protests against military, which were crushed by the government leaving at least 31 people dead.

Human rights groups say that about 700 of the 2,000 political prisoners were detained during last September's demonstrations.

The government denies there are any political prisoners in Myanmar's jails saying that have all committed some type of crime.