London Lite Tuesday, 3 November 2009 15 Brit pardoned for foiled coup on medical grounds Flying home: West Africa plotter Simon Mann JAILED British mercenary Simon Mann is to fly back to London tomorrow after receiving a dramatic pardon. His family today said they were delighted at the release of the Old Etonian and former SAS officer -- who had served just 15 months of a 34-year sentence in Equatorial Guinea for his part in a foiled coup intended to oust its president, Teodoro Obiang in 2004. Manns sister Sarah and brother Edward were said to be on a chartered plane today, to take him back to London after Obiangs pardon on humanitarian grounds. His wife, Amanda, who lives in Cape Town, is believed not to have been told in advance of the West African countrys decision to release Mann. In a statement his family said: Everyone is profoundly grateful to the president and the government of Equatorial Guinea. According to the countrys information ministry the pardon was granted because of Manns need for medical treatment and to be with his family. The 57-year-old, who suffers hernia problems, has been held in the capital, Malabo, at Black Beach jail, notorious for torture and starvation. Supreme court president Jose Olo Obono, chief prosecutor at Manns trial last year, today confirmed he had been released, saying: Mr Mann is no longer in prison. It was the presidents deci- sion. At the trial, Mann accepted he was part of a plot -- said to include Sir Mark Thatcher -- to replace Mr Obiang with a puppet leader. Mann claimed the plot was supported by Spain, South Africa and had the Pentagons tacit approval. He was originally arrested along with dozen of mercenaries on a private plane in Harare, Zimbabwe, after they had landed to pick up arms and ammunition intended for the coup. by kevin widdop river project is sew ambitious The history of the River Thames is to be told in the longest tapestry ever made. Some 240 schools along the rivers path will each create one-metre panels, which will be displayed together in London during 2012 Olympics arts events. london in best value top 10 The plunging pound has helped put London in the Lonely Planets latest top 10 of the worlds best- value destinations. The guide said: The exchange rate means travellers can find hotels and meals up to half the price of a few years ago. old etonian dog of war freed from hellhole jail H index.html2.html3.html4.html5.html6.html7.html8.html9.html10.html11.html12.html13.html14.html15.html16.html17.html18.html19.html20.html21.html22.html23.html24.html25.html26.html27.html28.html29.html30.html31.html32.html33.html34.html35.html