Britain rejects pardon for executed solider Breaker Morant

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The British government has rejected pleas to grant a royal pardon to Boer War soldier Harry Breaker Morant.

Earlier this year Commander James Unkles, an Australian military lawyer, and Nick Bleszynski, a Scottish-born writer, sent a petition to the Queen, calling for a review of the trials of Lieutenant Morant and his co-accused Peter Handcock and George Witton.

The trio were found guilty of the murder of 12 prisoners of war more than 100 years ago in South Africa. Despite arguing that they had simply been following orders, Morant and Handcock were executed by firing squad in Pretoria in 1902. Witton was sentenced to life in prison but was freed in 1904.

The petition argued that the convictions were unsafe and that their trial was unfair because the men were denied the right to communicate with the Australian government, refused an opportunity to prepare their cases and blocked from lodging an appeal.

Nine months after the petition was sent to Britain, a statement from the Ministry of Defence said that the appeal had been rejected....

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