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India court orders release of woman on 14-year hunger strike over rights abuses

Published on Aug 19, 2014 7:55 PM
 
In this photograph taken on March 3, 2013 social activist from Manipur, Irom Sharmila, who has been on a fast for 12 years demanding the repeal of the controversial Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA), arrives at the Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi. An Indian court on Tuesday ordered the release of a woman who has staged a 14-year hunger strike in protest at human rights abuses in the country's remote north-east, her lawyer said. -- PHOTO: AFP

NEW DELHI (AFP) - An Indian court on Tuesday ordered the release of a woman who has staged a 14-year hunger strike in protest at human rights abuses in the country's remote north-east, her lawyer said.

"The court has set her free," lawyer Mani Khaidem said of Ms Irom Sharmila, who was arrested shortly after beginning her protest.

Sharmila, known as the Iron Lady of Manipur for her unwavering and non-violent protest, has refused food and water for almost 14 years to draw attention to abuses allegedly committed by the military.

She began her fast in November 2000 after witnessing the killing of 10 people by the army at a bus stop near her home in north-eastern Manipur, which is subject to the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act. She was arrested on charges of attempted suicide and was sent to a prison hospital where she was force-fed via a nasal drip several times a day.

 
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