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UK government pardons football fan

THE lawyer for a British football fan convicted of attempted murder in Bulgaria says his client has been pardoned by the British government.

John Wheate says Michael Shields is "absolutely ecstatic and so are his family." Shields is to be released from prison Wednesday.

Shields and several other fans were visiting Bulgaria after seeing FC Liverpool win the Champions League soccer final in neighboring Turkey in 2005. A bartender was attacked when he tried to break up a brawl between fans.

Shields has maintained his innocence, saying he was not involved. Justice Secretary Jack Straw says he concluded Shields "is telling the truth when he says he is innocent."

The 22-year-old Shields was transferred to Britain in 2006 to complete his 10-year sentence.


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