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Myanmar repeals 1950s anti-dissent law

Lawmakers in Myanmar have repealed a law often used to target political dissidents under the former military regime. Many of those who voted for the repeal, including Aung San Suu Kyi, were victims of the law themselves.

A law that has been on the books for over 60 years and was often used to silence dissidents was repealed on Tuesday by lawmakers in Myanmar.

The law, known as the Emergency Provisions Act, was passed in 1950 following Myanmar's independence from Britain. It allowed the government to hold people without charge and gave courts leeway to convict with little evidence.

After the military seized power in 1962, the law was often used against activists who opposed the government under a very broad definition of treason.

Repealing the law has been one of the goals of the National League for Democracy party since it came to power in elections in March. The party is led by former political prisoner Aung San Suu Kyi, herself among several people in the party who were convicted under the law.

Military parliamentarians, who still control a quarter of the seats in parliament, opposed overturning the law.

mz/kl (FA, AFP, Reuters, EFE)

 

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