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Myanmar Land Activist Linked to Kidnapping Case Freed

A land rights activist in Myanmar has been freed from prison after the owners of a China-Myanmar joint mining venture withdrew a lawsuit that accused her of involvement in the kidnapping of two Chinese contractors.

Phyu Hnin Htwe, a member of the Student Union, was arrested last month in central Myanmar, also known as Burma, in connection with the brief abduction of two Chinese workers from the Letpadaung copper mine project back in May.

Her lawyer, Thein Than Oo, told VOA's Burmese service that the companies decided to stop the case to help improve relations between their countries.

"As there is no objection from the police and the district judicial office upon the plaintiff’s application, she was released without any charge,” said Thein Than Oo.

Fellow activist Min Thway Thit said Phyu Hnin Htwe will continue her work on behalf of villagers who have had their land taken to expand the mine, which is located near the Chinese border.

“She will continue the activities for the education system hand-in-hand with her mother organization of the ABFSU [All Burma Federation of Student Unions], and on the other hand to help those farmers suffering due to the mining project,” said Min Thway Thit .

Expansion of the Chinese-owned mine has drawn frequent protests from locals, who say they have been unfairly compensated for the land and are worried about the environmental impact.

The mine is run by Chinese and local companies under a deal that dates to the previous military government.

This report was produced in collaboration with the VOA Burmese service.