Liberia drops TV crew charges

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The Independent Online

Under mounting international pressure, the Liberian government has dropped all charges against a detained Bartish television crew accused of spying in this West African country.

Under mounting international pressure, the Liberian government has dropped all charges against a detained Bartish television crew accused of spying in this West African country.

Justice Minister Eddington Varmah said the government had agreed to release the four journalists from London-based Insight News Television - two Britons, a South African and a Sierra Leonean - in exchange for an apology. "As far as the government is concerned, with the dropping of these charges, this case is closed," Varmah said at a news briefing.

In a short handwritten letter to President Charles Taylor, the journalists apologized, "To both his excellency the president of Liberia and the people of Liberia for any offense which our action or statements have caused." Incite News has repeatedly insisted that the four were in Liberia for valid journalistic purposes and were innocent of all charges. It was not immediately clear when the journalists would be released, though it was expected to be soon. Defense and persecution lawyers met throughout the day Thursday to work out the deal.

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