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Zimmerman released on bail ahead of trial

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George Zimmerman, charged with second-degree murder in the killing of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin, has been released from a Florida jail, after a judge set bail at $150,000, a spokesperson for the sheriff in Seminole County, Florida, has said.

Zimmerman, a former neighbourhood watch volunteer, was released from the county's John E Polk Correctional Facility shortly after midnight on Monday after posting bail and meeting other conditions set for his release at a pretrial detention hearing on Friday.

Under the conditions set by Judge Kenneth Lester Jr, Zimmerman must wear an electronic monitoring device, although he may be allowed to leave the state. He must also observe a dusk-to-dawn curfew and is prohibited from consuming illegal drugs or alcohol or possessing a firearm.

Undisclosed location

Television networks showed Zimmerman walking out of the jail in Sanford, Florida, accompanied by an unidentified man.

Neither of the two made any statements.

Images showed the men walking towards a car and then driving away to an unknown destination.

No date has been set for Zimmerman's trial but, due to safety concerns, his whereabouts are expected to remain a closely guarded secret until his next appearance in court.

Zimmerman shot and killed Martin in a gated community in Sanford in central Florida on February 26, in an incident that triggered civil rights protests nationwide and fired a national debate over guns, self-defence laws and race in America.

Zimmerman, who is white and Latino, has said he shot the 17-year-old Martin in self-defence after a confrontation that occurred as Martin was returning to his father's house in the community after buying candy from a convenience store.

Police initially declined to arrest Zimmerman, citing Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, which allows people to use deadly force when they believe they are in danger of being killed or suffering great bodily harm.

The lack of an arrest led thousands to march in protest rallies in Sanford and across the country, calling for Zimmerman's arrest and "justice" for Martin. The public outrage caused the Sanford police chief and regularly assigned prosecutor to step aside.


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