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Malaysia drops attempted murder charges against ethnic Indian protesters

[JURIST] Prosecutors in Malaysia on Monday dropped attempted murder charges [JURIST report] brought against 26 ethnic Indians for their role in anti-discrimination demonstrations [TIME report] held last month. The defendants have instead pleaded guilty to lesser charges of illegal assembly, mischief and damaging property. They face a maximum of five years in prison and will be sentenced on December 27. The attempted murder charges, which stemmed from an injury to a police officer, carried a possible 20-year prison sentence. Reuters has more.

The November 25 rally was sparked by complaints that the predominantly Malay Muslim government economically discriminates against ethnic Indians and other minorities. Three Hindu activists originally arrested before the protest and charged with sedition were subsequently released [BBC reports]. Earlier in November, Malaysian police cracked down [JURIST report] on demonstrators participating in an unauthorized election reform rally held by electoral rights group Coalition for Clean and Fair Elections [advocacy website], firing tear gas and water cannons at protesters.

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