Times Wire Reports

An appeals court commuted the death sentences of four men convicted of killing an American diplomat and his Sudanese driver after the driver's family decided to pardon them, a news agency reported.

Sudanese law stipulates that if a victim's family chooses to pardon a killer, the person cannot be sentenced to death and the prison term cannot exceed 10 years. The case will be referred back to the initial court for a new sentence, said the Sudan Media Center.

The three judges delivered their ruling Wednesday without considering the wishes of the family of the slain diplomat, John Granville, said the news agency, which has close links to the Sudanese government. Granville and his driver were killed Jan. 1, 2008, as they returned from a New Year's party in the capital, Khartoum.

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