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Montana WWI seditionists are pardoned

May 4, 2006 at 1:28 PM

HELENA, Mont., May 4 (UPI) -- Victims of Montana's harsh World War I seditionist law have been granted pardons 87 years after they were convicted.

In all, 78 people were convicted of sedition and 41 were sent to prison for one to 20 years and fined up to $20,000, the Chicago Tribune reported. All had been hauled into court for a variety of allegedly unpatriotic statements. Sometimes, the action virtually wrecked family life.

It ended on Wednesday when Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer granted a blanket posthumous pardon.

"I think this sends a signal to the rest of the folks across the country that in times of insecurity and xenophobia, sometimes we lose our minds," Schweitzer said. "It takes cooler minds and cooler heads to say, `This wasn't right.'"

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