Four black men who have been unjustly accused of raping a white teenager in Florida 70 years ago have been forgiven
Officials voted unanimously for granting pardon in a meeting in the state capital of Tallahassee on Friday.
None of the men are still alive, but their family members were present to defend their innocence.
Charles Greenlee, Walter Irvin, Samuel Shepherd and Ernest Thomas are known as the Groveland Four and were accused of kidnapping and kidnapping a girl in 1949.
Thomas was hunted by a group of more than 1,000 men shortly after the alleged incident and was shot hundreds of times.
- "There will be racism until the day we die"
The other three were defeated in custody before being condemned by white-only juries. Samuel Shepherd was later killed by a sheriff while traveling for a new trial.
The case is seen as a historical racial injustice and was the subject of the book Devil in the Grove, which won a Pulitzer Prize in 2013.  Image copyright
The alleged victim, who was 17 at the time, insisted during the Friday hearing that he had spoken the truth and had opposed graces before they were granted.
"I beg you not to forgive them," he said
But the clemency panel, composed of senior officials including the attorney general, praised the activists' work before releasing forgiveness.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who was inaugurated only Tuesday, he promised to prioritize the case during the election campaign last year.
"These four men wrote their story unfairly for crimes they did not commit," he said in a statement.
He added: "They were perverted over and over again, and I think the way this was carried out was a judicial error."
The Florida state government issued a "sincere excuse" to the families of the four men and recommended their posthumous pardon in 2017.