Amnesty law for Ivory Coast

Abidjan (Reuter) - Ivory Coast's parliament passed an amnesty law yesterday pardoning hundreds of political prisoners and shielding police and soldiers from charges of brutality.

The law, proposed by President Felix Houphouet-Boigny and approved unanimously, opens the way to freedom for people jailed since 1990, when protests forced the president to accept multi-party rule.

It also pardons crimes 'connected with the maintenance of public order' - apparently designed to silence accusations of brutality by security forces.