Dying ex-Black Panther freed after 40 years in solitary

Dying ex-Black Panther freed after 40 years in solitary
This undated image courtesy of Herman's House, shows inmate Herman Wallace at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola.

WASHINGTON - A terminally ill former Black Panther, who spent 40 years in solitary confinement for murder, was set free Tuesday after a judge reversed his controversial 1974 conviction for murder.

Judge Brian Jackson on Tuesday "ordered that the state immediately release Mr. (Herman) Wallace from custody," according to a copy of the decision obtained by AFP.

He was left the prison in an ambulance at 7:30 pm (0030 GMT), and now "will be able to receive the medical care that his advanced liver cancer requires," his lawyers said.

Wallace, 72, who is dying from liver cancer, is one of the "Angola three," named after a notorious prison where they were held, built on the site of a former plantation worked by slaves from Africa.

The three embraced the Black Panther movement - a black, revolutionary socialist organization - while already in prison for lesser crimes.

They were active in organizing sit-ins and other protests to demand desegregation and better protection of inmates against abuses.

At the time, the prison had no black guards and a reputation as one of the most violent in the United States.

Wallace, who was behind bars for armed robbery, and fellow Panther Albert Woodfox, were sentenced to life after being convicted of stabbing a white prison guard to death in 1972.

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