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Newswire

February 27, 1988

An appeals court freed on bail 20 British soccer fans charged with manslaughter in riots that killed 39 people at a 1985 championship match.

The court ruled that despite the charges, the setting of bail was sufficient to assure their appearance at a trial, a court official said. He spoke on condition he not be identified by name.

No date for the trial has been set.

The 20 were among 25 fans of the British soccer team FC Liverpool who had been extradited to Belgium last September to be tried in connection with the riots at Heysel.

Earlier this month, a lower court had set bails ranging from $1,430 to $5,715. Five of the defendants had been released earlier to await trial.

The 25 fans were arrested in Britain after videotapes and photographs indicated they had been involved in the riots, which occurred before the European Champions' Cup final between Liverpool and Juventus Turin of Italy on May 29, 1985.

British supporters charged rival fans in an adjacent stand, causing panic. Thirty-nine people, most of them Italians, were trampled to death during the retreat from the violence.

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