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US journalist convicted of torture in Afghanistan released from prison

[JURIST] US journalist Edward Caraballo, one of three US citizens jailed in 2004 [JURIST report] on charges of running a private jail and torturing eight Afghan men, was released Sunday from Kabul's Pul-i-Charki prison by presidential decree. Caraballo, former US Green Beret Jonathan Idema [BBC profile], and ex-servicemen Brett Bennett entered Afghanistan on a freelance terrorist hunt and were arrested as vigilantes in July 2004 when Afghan forces raided their house in Kabul and found that the men were holding eight Afghan citizens captive.

An Afghanistan appeals court last year reduced [JURIST news report] Caraballo's initial sentence from eight to two years after dismissing a charge that the three US citizens had entered the country illegally. Idema has insisted that he and the others entered the country legally under US and Afghan government sanction to track down Taliban militants and that Caraballo's role was minimal and confined to filming the anti-terrorist mission. The US government has refused to corroborate [JURIST news report] Idema's account, stating that the trio operated outside of the government's command. AP has more.

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