Outgoing US president George W. Bush, in a final act of clemency, commuted the prison sentences of two US border patrol agents but steered clear of any high-profile pardons for former vice presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby and others.
Bush commuted the 11-year prison sentence of Ignacio Ramos and the 12-year sentence of Jose Alonso Compean, who were tried for shooting an unarmed Mexican drug smuggler in the buttocks in a case in Texas that drew widespread attention.
Their 2006 conviction drew an outcry from supporters who said the agents had been treated too harshly and were just doing their job. Under the commutation, their prison sentences will expire on March 20.
"He [Mr Bush] believes that the length of the sentence and the conditions of their confinement were too harsh, they suffered enough for their crimes," a White House official said on condition of anonymity.
"He does believe that both men received a fair trial and a just verdict," the official said.
This was expected to be Bush's last act of clemency before his presidency ends at noon (1700 GMT) on Tuesday when Barack Obama takes office.
The two commutations were in marked contrast to predecessor Bill Clinton, who issued a flurry of 140 pardons on his last day as president.
- news sources.