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Louisiana inmate held in solitary confinement for decades is released

The last of a trio of inmates held in solitary confinement in the US for years has been released. Albert Woodfox still denies the charges leveled against him by authorities in Louisiana.

Woodfox was released on Friday after spending more than 40 years in the Louisiana Penitentiary at Angola.

The last of a trio of inmates known as the "Angola Three" for their long stays in isolation at the prison, Woodfox was allowed to go free after pleading no contest to manslaughter in the death of prison guard Brent Miller in 1972.

Woodfox, who had originally been charged with murder, has maintained his innocence over the years.

A free man

Prison officials said they kept the trio in solitary confinement for purported "Black Panther"-related activities, which they said would have caused trouble among the other inmates. The "Black Panther Party" was a black American revolutionary group that gained prominence in the US during the 1960s. It was known primarily for challenging white authority figures.

Speaking to reporters upon his release, Woodfox, who turned 69 the same day he walked free, said he had been looking forward to proving his innocence in a third trial over Miller's death, which he had been awaiting when federal courts ruled he could leave.

The other two members of the "Angola Three" - Robert King and the late Herman Wallace - had been set free years earlier.

blc/tj (AP, dpa)

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