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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 13:41 GMT 14:41 UK
Afghans free jailed US journalist
(From left to right) Jonathan Idema, Brent Bennett and Edward Caraballo, sitting, in court in 2004
Caraballo (seated) has been flown out of the country
A US journalist has been freed in Afghanistan after serving most of a two-year sentence for torturing Afghans and running a private jail in Kabul.

Edward Caraballo, 44, was arrested along with two other Americans in 2004 after a raid on a house in the capital uncovered eight Afghans held captive.

Caraballo was released two months early under a presidential decree, a prison official was quoted as saying.

He told the Associated Press he felt "jubilant and happy".

"I am still worried that something could happen to me as I leave but I am optimistic that I will get home safely," he said in a telephone call to the AP minutes before leaving his prison cell.

Caraballo was taken to the airport by US embassy staff and put on a plane to Dubai. He was not allowed to speak to the waiting media.

Kabul house where the alleged prison was run

The New York documentary-maker was found guilty, along with Jonathan Idema and Brent Bennett, of running a jail and torturing captives in September 2004.

The US branded Idema, a former special forces soldier, as a bounty hunter who was attracted by the multi-million dollar rewards offered for Osama Bin Laden and other top al-Qaeda men.

But Mr Idema insisted his work was approved by Afghan and US authorities - a claim that US officials have denied - and that Mr Caraballo was a journalist filming them.

Idema and Bennett are serving five and three year sentences respectively.




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