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Asia-pacific

Burmese court frees jailed student activists

© Ye Aung Thu, AFP | Newly-released student activist and family members cry after being reunited in Tharrawaddy town, Bago Region in Myanmar on April 8, 2016

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2016-04-08

A Myanmar court on Friday freed dozens of jailed students, in the first wave of detainee releases after Aung San Suu Kyi pledged that freeing activists and political prisoners would be the first priority of her new government.

There were jubilant scenes at the sweltering central Myanmar courthouse in Tharrawaddy, as a judge told young activists that they could go home more than a year after they were arrested over their education protest that was crushed in a violent police crackdown in March 2015.

"You 69 are all freed now (from this case) without charge," said township judge Chit Myat. Two other student protesters were deemed too young to be prosecuted, however three of the 69 face further hearings in other courts.

Myanmar has scores of political prisoners languishing in its jails and hundreds of detained activists awaiting trial, despite reforms in recent years as the military loosened its grip on power after half a century of repressive junta rule.

Suu Kyi said Thursday she would prioritise releasing activists – an issue laden with significance for herself and scores of MPs in her party once jailed for democracy activism. The announcement did not specify a timeframe.

(AFP)

Date created : 2016-04-08

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