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Wrongly Accused Black Men, Get a Pardon After 70 Years

Independent investigators have proved the men who were convicted without any evidence, during the notorious Jim Crow-era in the U.S., were innocent of the charge. 

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and a Cabinet granted posthumous pardons Friday, Jan. 11, 2019, to Shepherd, Irvin, Charles Greenlee and Ernest Thomas, the four African-American men accused of raping a white woman in 1949 in a case now seen as a racial injustice. VOA

Four black men who were wrongly accused of raping a 17-year-old white girl in the southern U.S. state of Florida 70 years ago, received pardons Friday.

Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas became known as the Groveland Four.

All of them are dead.

Members of their families, however, are still alive.

The families attended the clemency hearing in Tallahassee Friday where officials voted unanimously to pardon the four men.

“It is never too late to do the right thing,” Governor Ron DeSantis said in a statement. “I believe the rule of law is society’s sacred bond. When it is trampled, we all suffer. For the Groveland Four, the truth was buried.”

U.S., Shutdown
The dome of the U.S. Capitol is seen beyond a chain fence during the partial government shutdown in Washington, Jan. 8, 2019. VOA

Thomas was killed by a mob shortly after the incident in 1949.

The other three were tortured into confessions and convicted by all-white juries.

Shepherd was shot and killed by a sheriff who was transporting him to a re-trial.

Greenlee and Irvin received life sentences.

Norma Padgett, the alleged rape victim, is still alive. She also attended the hearing Friday.

“I am not no liar,” she told the hearing.

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Independent investigators have proved the men who were convicted without any evidence, during the notorious Jim Crow-era in the U.S., were innocent of the charge.

Devil In The Grove, a book about the Groveland Four case, won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013. (VOA

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Kenya Bans Child Adoption By Foreign Nationals

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya

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Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
The Cabinet has announced a ban on adoption of Kenyan children by foreigner.

BY GEOFFREY ISAYA

The Cabinet has banned with immediate effect adoption of Kenyan children by foreign nationals as the government moves to tame rogue adopters.

A special Cabinet meeting at State House on Thursday also directed the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection to formulate a new policy document to regulate the adoption of children by foreign nationals in Kenya, State House Spokesperson Kanze Dena said in a statement.

COURT BATTLES

There have been concerns over the existing loopholes in adoption laws of local children by foreigners with court battles rife on the same.

Most recently, an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby.

The baby was handed over to the couple on Wednesday after they were granted legal guardianship by the Nairobi’s Children Court in April 2017.

Kenya, Bans, Adoption, Foreigners, Court
an American couple, Daisy and her husband Matt, won a vicious adoption battle with the State over their procedure of adopting a Kenyan baby. VOA

The matter came to the limelight after detectives from Directorate of Criminal Investigations stormed the residence of the couple and forcefully took the baby away.

The police said the baby was found abandoned as a newborn along with another baby, believed to be his twin.

In August 2015, the High Court stopped two Swedish couples and a Danish couple from taking three Kenyan children out of the country, after it was discovered that the minors were not abandoned orphans but had families.

The couples had been living with the children in Nairobi for months as families of the children searched for their missing minors, only to discover they had been declared abandoned orphans and offered for adoption to the foreigners by local adoption agencies.

Following a review of the adoption process by the Technical Assessment of the Legal Provisions and Practices of Guardianship, Foster Care and Adoption of children by the Government of Kenya and UN children agency Unicef, an adoption moratorium on foreigners was placed by the government in December 2014.

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The review showed there were weaknesses in the legal process, which was subject to manipulation leading to commercialisation of adoptions.

Besides the moratorium, the government also revoked the licenses of adoption agencies. In 2015, the government appointed an expert committee to implement the objectives of the moratorium.

In 2017, the committee, in a report presented to President Kenyatta, recommended the freeze to be maintained and that all the Charitable Children’s Institutions (Homes) be closed down.

As a result, the government is not renewing the licenses for the children’s homes, nor licensing new ones.