Filipino Communist leaders released from prison for peace talks

MANILA, Aug. 19 (UPI) — Two Filipino Communist leaders who have been in prison since 2014 were freed temporarily to join peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front.

Benito and Wilma Tiamzon are among the some 22 National Democratic Front consultants who were temporarily released from prison after paying bail. The peace talks between communist rebels and the government are slated to begin Monday in Oslo, Norway, with the hopes of ending five decades of conflict.

Wilma served as secretary general of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army. Benito was chairman when they were arrested in March 2014 on multiple murder charges. The couple have been detained at Philippine National Police headquarters in Quezon City.

Ernesto Abella, spokesman for President Rodrigo Duterte, said the couple, and the others, will be given “safe passage” to Norway.

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