Just seven months into his three-and-a-half-year jail sentence for involvement in spot-fixing, disgraced former Pakistan cricket captain Salman Butt was today released under the British government's early prisoner release scheme.
Butt was released from Canterbury prison this morning after serving seven months of his 30-month sentence. He is expected to return to Pakistan at the earliest.
"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 lawyer Yasin Patel said in a statement.
"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 added.
Patel said Butt will speak to the media after returning to Pakistan. "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."
The scheme under which Butt has been released calls for immediate deportation. If that happens, Butt will not be able to come to England for 10 years.
With the 27-year-old Butt's release, bookie Mazhar Majeed is the only one in jail for the 2010 spot-fixing scandal that rocked international cricket. Fast bowler Mohammad Asif was released in May after serving six months of his one-year term. Teen pacer Mohammad Amir served three months in a young offenders' institute and he is currently in Pakistan undergoing counselling.
Asif and Amir were convicted of bowling deliberate no-balls on the instruction of Butt, who had struck up a deal with Majeed. They were found guilty at Southwark Crown Court last November. Butt was banned by the ICC for 10 years, five of them suspended, for his role. Asif and Amir were also handed bans by the world governing body.