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Myanmar charges 10 activists for 'illegal statements' in anti-government protests

[JURIST] Ten activists who led anti-government protests against fuel prices [BBC Q&A; JURIST report] in Myanmar last August and September have been charged under Myanmar's Printing and Publishing Act with the crime of making illegal statements. Myanmar's ruling military junta has detained the ten activists pursuant to its emergency powers since their arrests in September. According to Amnesty International, 700 dissidents are still in custody [JURIST report] from the August protests, a claim the government denies. Three thousand protesters were initially arrested. BBC News has more. Reuters has additional coverage.

The UN General Assembly Third Committee approved [JURIST report] a resolution [press release] in November condemning the recent crackdown and calling on the junta to release all political prisoners. The US Senate passed a bill [JURIST report] in December imposing new sanctions and travel restrictions on junta leaders, but it was never signed into law. Myanmar has been governed without a constitution since the military regime took power in 1988. Talks on a new national charter [JURIST report] have been underway for 14 years. It is not yet clear who will draft the actual constitution or how that process will occur, but the Myanmar government has pledged to put the resulting document to a vote in a national referendum.

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