Malawi activist 'given pardon'

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LUSAKA (AP) - An anti-government activist who was sentenced to death for treason in Malawi was freed from prison yesterday after 12 years, the official Malawi radio service reported. Vera Chirwa, who was sent to death row in 1981 for plotting against the state, left prison in Lilongwe under a pardon granted by President Hastings Kamuzu Banda, said a report monitored in Zambia. It said the pardon was granted for humanitarian reasons.

Her husband, Orton, who was convicted of treason with his wife, died in prison in October after a long illness. Chirwa was Malawi's first attorney-general under Dr Banda after Malawi became independent in 1964. Opposition sources in Malawi said Mrs Chirwa was being reunited with friends and family.