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Philippines military court drops charges against four officers linked to 2003 mutiny

[JURIST] A Philippines military tribunal Wednesday dismissed charges against four military officers connected with a failed mutiny [BBC report] in July 2003 in which 300 soldiers from elite special forces took over buildings in Manila in an effort to overthrow the government of President Gloria Arroyo [official website; JURIST news archive]. An army officer and a navy ensign were released after the tribunal declared there was insufficient evidence to try the pair on charges of conduct unbecoming and failure to suppress mutiny. Two other army officers were cleared of the same charges, though they remain in custody for charges of conspiracy and absence without leave.

In April, a military tribunal sentenced 54 military officers [JURIST report] to seven years and six months in jail for involvement in the same mutiny. An additional 30 officers face pending courts-martial [JURIST report] for another alleged coup attempt against Arroyo in February 2006. Reuters has more.

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