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Butt returns to Pakistan after early release from prison

ESPNcricinfo staff
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Salman Butt has been released from prison to return to Pakistan © Getty Images
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Salman Butt, the former Pakistan captain who was convicted of spot-fixing, is travelling back to Pakistan after being released from prison seven months into his 30 month sentence, his lawyers have confirmed.

Butt's release under the government's early release scheme for foreign nationals means he has been formally deported from the UK and cannot return for 10 years. He is due to arrive back in Pakistan late on Thursday.

Butt's lawyer, Yasin Patel, said in a statement: "He is due to arrive back in Pakistan later this evening and will begin rebuilding his life and hopes to return to cricket. Salman Butt has had to endure a great deal of suffering, strain, pressure and humiliation over many months both personally and on behalf of his family.

"His return back home will allow Salman to spend time with his family and relatives. He will get to see and hold his son whom he has not seen since his birth in November last year. He can now return to his beloved homeland, start to rebuild his reputation and begin the long process in his efforts to return back to top-level cricket."

The jury in the spot-fixing trial found Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif guilty at Southwark Crown Court last November. The jury, by a unanimous verdict, found them guilty on the charge of 'conspiracy to cheat' and guilty by a 10-2 majority decision on the charge of 'conspiracy to obtain and accept corrupt payments'. Mohammad Amir, the third player involved, pleaded guilty.

Butt was also banned by the ICC for ten years (with five suspended) in February last year which unless the decision is overturned makes a return to the Pakistan side highly unlikely. He is the last of the three Pakistan players to be released.

Butt lost an appeal against the severity of the sentence in November as did his teammate Amir, At the appeal, Butt and Amir were told by the Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge that they were guilty of "criminal conduct of a very serious kind".

Butt was named as the "orchestrator" of the spot fixing during the fourth Test between England and his team at Lord's in August 2010. He was described as a "malign influence" on his team-mates Amir and Asif.

Asif was released from Canterbury Prison in south-east England last month after completing half of his one-year sentence for spot-fixing. He is still under a seven-year ban (the last two years of which are suspended) imposed by an ICC tribunal.

Amir was released in February after serving half of a six-month sentence. He has since worked with the ICC in the production of an anti-corruption video.

Mazhar Majeed, the agent who was accused of setting up the deal that was uncovered by a newspaper sting operation, was imprisoned for 32 months. He is the only one of the conspirators still in prison.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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