Page last updated at 21:34 GMT, Saturday, 5 September 2009 22:34 UK

Grenada's last 1983 rebels freed

Maurice Bishop and Bernard Coard
Bishop (l) and Coard fell out over Grenada's future

Seven men on the Caribbean island of Grenada have been freed after more than two decades in prison for the murder of Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.

The men, including former Deputy Prime Minister Bernard Coard, had become critical of Bishop's socialism, which they considered too moderate.

Four other cabinet ministers were among those killed in the 1983 coup.

The rebellion was crushed when US President Ronald Reagan ordered an invasion of the island.

Army executions

Bernard Coard and the six other prisoners were the last men still in prison for their involvement in the overthrow and death of Maurice Bishop.

US Marines with prisoners from the PRG - file photo from November 1983
US marines invaded Grenada days after Maurice Bishop was killed

They were greeted by cheering relatives as they were released.

Senator Chester Humphrey described the release as a milestone in the island's effort to heal wounds from the events of 1983.

"It's the end of one chapter, not the completion of the book, as Grenada tries to build a future by not living in the past," he said, the Associated Press news agency reports.

The men were found guilty in a trial in 1986 of ordering the army to execute the men and were sentenced to death.

The death sentence was repealed two years ago by the Privy Council in London.

The men had been due to be released by early 2010 at the latest.

Ten other people found guilty have already been released.

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