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Jailed US Teenager Freed in Jena Six Case

An African-American teenager accused of beating a white teenager has been freed from prison, after his case sparked civil rights protests.

A judge in the southern U.S. state of Louisiana on Thursday ordered 17-year-old Mychal Bell released from jail.

Earlier Thursday, a prosecutor said Bell will no longer be tried as an adult, and his case will be sent to a juvenile court.

Bell is one of six black teenagers initially charged with attempted murder for beating a white classmate in the small Louisiana town of Jena. The charges against at least four of the black teenagers were later reduced.

Last week, thousands of protesters from across the United States gathered in Jena to draw attention to what they say is racist treatment of the black students.

Last December, a black student was hit by several white students at a party. Days later, the black student and several of his friends beat a white student, briefly knocking him unconscious. After medical treatment, the white student was able to attend a school event that evening.

Residents say the beating stems from an incident last year, when a black student expressed interest in sitting under a tree generally used by whites. Soon after, white students hung nooses from the tree, recalling white-on-black lynchings during the early 20th century.

Some information for this report provided by AP.