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Ex-president Kaunda's son reprieved by Zambian court

LUSAKA, Zambia -- Former Zambian President Kenneth Kaunda's son, Kambarange, sentenced to death last year for murder, was acquitted Tursday in the Supreme Court.

The acquittal followed an appeal against the sentence last month by Kambarange's defense lawyer, Richard Ngenda.

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Justice Annel Silungwe told the court that Kambarange Kaunda, a 28- year-old airline pilot, the youngest son of the president who ruled Zambia for 27 years, acted in self-defense when he shot and killed a girl in 1989.

'The appellant acted in self defense, the conviction is quashed, sentence is set aside and the accused is acquitted,' Silungwe told a packed courtroom.

Silungwe said some prosecution witnesses in the original case had lied about the shooting of Tabeth Mwanza, 19, after a party in the shanty suburbs of Lusaka in September 1989.

'I am grateful to honorable men who make injustice illegal,' the Kambarange Kaunda told reporters after the judgment.

Outside the courtroom, supporters of the Kaunda's United National Independence Party, which lost its first general election since 1964 last October, sang patriotic songs and lifted the defense lawyer shoulder high.

At the time of Kambarange's conviction his father said he would not intervene in the process of justice.

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'It is a matter for the courts. It is not for me to say,' Kaunda senior said. Kaunda has retired from politics since reform President Frederick Chiluba took office and began a massive anti-corruption drive.

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