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'Kidney sisters' leave Mississippi prison

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Media captionGladys Scott: "I'm not bitter... I hold no grudge in my heart"

Two imprisoned sisters whose sentences were dropped on the condition that one donate her kidney to the other have been released from jail in Mississippi.

The pair, who had been in jail for 16 years, are moving to the US state of Florida, where their family lives.

Jamie Scott requires daily dialysis, which costs the state roughly $200,000 (£129,000) per year, officials said.

She and her sister Gladys Scott were convicted in 1994 of taking part in a robbery that netted a mere $11 (£7).

Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour agreed to release the sisters, who were serving life sentences for leading two men into an ambush in Mississippi in 1993, on the condition that Gladys, 36, donates a kidney to her sister within one year.

Gladys, who came up with the idea for the transplant, volunteered to donate her kidney to 38-year-old Jamie in her petition for early release.

Fight for pardon

At a press conference on Friday, the sisters said that although they were not bitter about having been imprisoned, they were still seeking a pardon from the state of Mississippi.

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Media captionThe Scott sisters' lawyer Chokwe Lumumba: "This is a great step in the right direction"

"The fight is not over. We have to now fight for this pardon," Jamie said.

The two walked out of the Central Mississippi Correctional Facility in the town of Pearl at just after 0800 local time (1400GMT) on Friday morning and were greeted by their mother and grown children.

Mr Barbour has said prison officials no longer think the sisters, who are eligible for parole in 2014, are a threat to society.

The women's lawyer, Chokwe Lumumba, said the two hoped to apply for government-funded health insurance, begin planning for the transplant and start seeking a pardon from the governor.

"A lot of people said the governor did it just for political purposes. You know that we did it for political purposes, too - to champion the human rights of these two women and to champion the human rights of oppressed people around the world," he said.

Mr Lumumba then added that two rights groups, the NAACP and ACLU, had played a large role in the release of the sisters.

Hundreds of protesters marched through the Mississippi capital of Jackson in September, calling for the women's release from prison - criticising their sentences as harsh.

There is currently no date set for the kidney transplant.

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