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By Ed Stoddard PRETORIA (Reuters) - Apartheid death-squad leader Eugene de Kock, dubbed 'Prime Evil' for his role in the torture and murder of scores of black South African activists in the 1980s and early 1990s, was granted parole on Friday after more than 20 years in prison. Justice Minister Michael Masutha told a news conference de Kock would be released "in the interests of nation-building and reconciliation" and because he had expressed remorse at his crimes and helped authorities recover the remains of some of his victims. Masutha stressed that his decision was guided only by the law, an attempt to deflect criticism from the many South Africans - black and white - who regard de Kock's crimes as so extreme he should die behind bars. As head of an apartheid counter-insurgency unit at Vlakplaas, a farm 20 km (15 miles) west of Pretoria, de Kock is believed to have been responsible for more atrocities than any other man in the efforts to preserve white rule.