Somalia pardoned six foreigners jailed for illegally bringing $3.6 million into the country to pay ransom for two ships seized by Somali pirates.
Three Britons, two Kenyans and an American were arrested May 24 after landing in a small plane at Mogadishu airport with the cash waiting for another aircraft to take it another part of the country.
The six men, who were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in jail last week, were pardoned by President Sharif Sheikh Ahmed of the interim government of the war-torn African country.
The group has now left Somalia without the cash, which has been confiscated by the government. They were also ordered to pay $100,000 to release the two planes.
It was the first time westerners have been sentenced for being involved in delivering ransoms to pirates.
The government officially bans the payment of ransoms in a bid to stamp out piracy but the practice has become widespread.
Somali pirates were responsible for 51 of the 54 merchant ships seized in 2010, according to the International Maritime Bureau.
The UN estimates shipowners paid more than $110 million to release ships in 2010.
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