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E. Germany's Last Communist Leader Released from Jail - 2003-12-18


East Germany's last Communist leader was paroled Thursday after serving most of his 6.5-year jail term. Egon Krenz was held partly responsible for the death of hundreds of East Germans killed while trying to escape the Communist regime.

Egon Krenz was jailed for manslaughter in the death of hundreds of East Germans who were killed trying to flee to the West. He had never accepted his guilt, and even challenged his conviction in the European Court of Justice. The court threw out his case on the grounds his conviction violated no international law.

The 66-year-old former Communist had held several high ranking posts in the East German regime, including, at least briefly, that of the country's leader.

His sentenced allowed him to leave the Berlin prison during the day, but he had to return to his cell each night.

Justice officials in Berlin said Krenz was eligible for parole for good behavior after serving two-thirds of his sentence.

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