LONDON, England, June 21 – Pakistan’s disgraced former Test captain Salman Butt has been released early from a British prison, his lawyers said Thursday, after serving less than a quarter of his sentence for spot fixing.
The 27-year-old was jailed for 30 months last November on charges of accepting corrupt payments during the Lord’s Test against England in August 2010.
His lawyers said he was expected back in Pakistan on Friday and would then begin his efforts to return to the sport, from which he has been banned for at least five years.
He was being held in prison in Canterbury, southeast England, a jail holding foreign nationals.
“Today, following his release from HMP (Her Majesty’s Prison) Canterbury, Salman Butt will be returning to Pakistan accompanied by his barrister, Yasin Patel,” said his London legal company, 25 Bedford Row.
“They are expected to land in Pakistan at 3:00am on Friday (2200 GMT Thursday).
“It is expected that, on his return, he will work with his barrister in relation to the next step in his endeavours to return to the cricketing world.”
Patel, his lawyer, said Butt was “tired and jaded” but would begin his efforts to return to the sport.
“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,” said Patel.
“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. He is tired and jaded.
“Once he has had a little rest, you can rest assured that Salman Butt will talk to the media when the time is right.”
A Prison Service spokeswoman said it did not comment on the release date of invidual prisoners.
“Under the early removal scheme, foreign national prisoners may be removed up to nine months before their normal release date, providing they are being deported from the UK,” the spokeswoman said.
Prisoners in Britain are often released after serving half their sentence — 15 months in Butt’s case — if they behave well.
Butt, teammates Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer, and agent Mazhar Majeed were accused of arranging deliberate no-balls in return for money.
Aamer was released in February after serving half his six-month sentence while Asif, jailed for 12 months, was freed in May.
The three players were banned for at least five years by the International Cricket Council, which has ordered the Pakistan Cricket Board to rehabilitate the former stars.
The cricketers have a right to appeal the ICC ban in the Court of Arbitration for Sports (CAS) in Switzerland.