Aid workers released in Myanmar after pardon, U.N. says
August 29, 2012 -- Updated 1209 GMT (2009 HKT)
- The three workers are released after a pardon from the president, a U.N. official says
- They had been sentenced to prison on Friday in the state of Rakhine
- Scores of people died in clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine in June
Hong Kong (CNN) -- Myanmar has released three aid workers, including two U.N. employees, who received prison sentences after being detained amid sectarian clashes that killed scores of people in the west of the country in June, a U.N. spokesman said Wednesday.
A court in the town of Maungdaw in Rakhine State sentenced the three local aid workers to time in prison on Friday.
Myanmar court sentences 3 aid workers to prison, U.N. says
But they have now been released after President Thein Sein issued a statement on his website late Tuesday pardoning them, said Aye Win, the spokesman for the United Nations in Myanmar.
One of the aid workers is from the U.N. refugee agency, one is from the U.N. World Food Program and the other is from a nongovernmental organization affiliated with the refugee agency, according to Aye Win.
Religious clashes devastate Myanmar
Sectarian violence testing Myanmar
Myanmar: Open for business and tourism
The United Nations had struggled to obtain details on the length of the prison sentences and the charges the workers were convicted of because it didn't have access to the courtroom, he said. It had been unable to meet with them after they were taken into custody.
The United Nations said in July that about 10 aid workers had been detained for "questioning" by the authorities in Rakhine, where violent clashes between Buddhists and Muslims caused havoc in June. The detained workers included employees of the United Nations and the aid group Doctors Without Borders.
Some of those being held were released, the United Nations said last week. But it noted that some workers remained in detention.
The communal violence in Rakhine resulted in the destruction of hundreds of homes and the displacement of tens of thousands of people, many of them members of the Rohingya, a stateless ethnic Muslim minority.
12 more die in sectarian violence in Myanmar
Rakhine is home for the Rohingya, who say they have been persecuted by the Myanmar military during its decades of authoritarian rule.
Many of them have fled into neighboring Bangladesh over the years. But the Bangladeshi government tried to prevent fleeing Rohingya from crossing the border from Myanmar during the recent outbreak of violence, saying it already had too many to deal with.
The Myanmar government declared a state of emergency in Rakhine at the time of the unrest, bringing in the military to help restore order.
Human rights advocates have accused the Myanmar authorities of cracking down particularly harshly on the Rohingya in the response to the unrest.
Aye Win of the United Nations declined to disclose the identities of the detained U.N. workers.
Myanmar sets up commission to probe clashes between Buddhists, Muslims
Part of complete coverage on
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1526 GMT (2326 HKT)
Advocates say the exam includes unnecessarily invasive and irrelevant procedures -- like a so-called "two finger" test.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0009 GMT (0809 HKT)
Supplies of food, clothing and fuel are running short in Damascus and people are going hungry as the civil war drags on.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1801 GMT (0201 HKT)
Supporters of Richard III want a reconstruction of his head to bring a human aspect to a leader portrayed as a murderous villain.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1548 GMT (2348 HKT)
Robert Fowler spent 130 days held hostage by the same al Qaeda group that was behind the Algeria massacre. He shares his experience.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0507 GMT (1307 HKT)
As "We are the World" plays, a video shows what looks like a nuclear attack on the U.S. Jim Clancy reports on a bizarre video from North Korea.
The relationship is, once again, cold enough to make Obama's much-trumpeted "reset" in Russian-U.S. relations seem thoroughly off the rails.
Ten years on, what do you think the Iraq war has changed in you, and in your country? Send us your thoughts and experiences.
February 5, 2013 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Musician Daniela Mercury has sold more than 12 million albums worldwide over a career span of nearly 30 years.
Photojournalist Alison Wright travelled the world to capture its many faces in her latest book, "Face to Face: Portraits of the Human Spirit."
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 0006 GMT (0806 HKT)
Europol claims 380 soccer matches, including top level ones, were fixed - as the scandal widens, CNN's Dan Rivers looks at how it's done.
February 6, 2013 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
That galaxy far, far away is apparently bigger than first thought. The "Star Wars" franchise will get two spinoff movies, Disney announced.
February 8, 2013 -- Updated 0718 GMT (1518 HKT)
It's an essential part of any trip, an activity we all take part in. Yet almost none of us are any good at it. Souvenir buying is too often an obligatory slog.
Today's five most popular stories