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Nigeria frees soldiers jailed for mutiny over pay

by Staff Writers
Abuja (AFP) Dec 3, 2010
The Nigerian army Friday freed 27 soldiers convicted last year by a military court of mutiny, commuting their prison terms to discharge from the service, an official statement said.

"The decision, which was the outcome of the Army Council sitting in Abuja today (Friday), also commuted the sentences on the soldiers from imprisonment to discharge from military service," the army headquarters statement said.

"The Council also approves that the soldiers be paid all their due entitlements while those entitled to pension among them will also receive their dues accordingly," it added.

The soldiers had originally in April last year been sentenced to life imprisonment after which their convictions were reduced in August last year to seven years in prison following their mitigation pleas.

A military court had sentenced the soldiers, including three women, who had served as UN peacekeeepers in Liberia, to life imprisonment following their protest over pay.

They had staged the demonstration in Akure, capital of southwestern Ondo State, in July last year.

The court martial found them guilty of mutiny for protesting over not getting paid their foreign mission allowances when they served in Liberia between 2007 and 2008

The soldiers' lawyer, Femi Falana, had accused some Nigerian officials of diverting the allowance money.

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