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Jailed Nepalese Political Activists Ordered Released


Nepal's Supreme Court has ordered the release of 37 political activists who were jailed as part of the royalist government's crackdown on protest rallies in recent weeks.

The court issued the order Friday after finding no reason to uphold the government's arbitrary detentions of the political opponents.

The government says the arrests were justified because Maoist rebels could have taken advantage of the protest rallies to spread violence.

King Gyanendra seized absolute power a year ago. He said the move was necessary to curb the Maoist insurgency that has killed some 13,000 people since 1996.

Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders says Nepal's government has arrested more journalists since 2004 than any other country in the world. The Paris-based media rights group says over the last four weeks, at least 114 journalists were rounded up while doing their jobs or protesting for press freedom.