UK

Cleared Briton Bill Shaw released from prison

Bill Shaw ahead of the appeal hearing
Image caption Mr Shaw was acquitted of bribery by an Afghan court on Sunday

A former British Army officer acquitted of bribery by an Afghan appeal court has been released from prison.

Charges against 52-year-old Bill Shaw, who is from Leeds, were dropped by a court on Sunday, citing lack of evidence.

Mr Shaw had been found guilty of bribing officials in March.

At the time, he was manager of a security firm providing protection to foreigners. He has always maintained his innocence.

At his trial in March at Afghanistan's newly established anti-corruption court, Mr Shaw admitted having paid for the release of two impounded vehicles but insisted he had thought it was a legitimate fine.

He was jailed for two years and fined £16,185.

'Living hell'

Afghan officials who took the money have since disappeared.

Mr Shaw, who served for 28 years in the British army and was awarded the MBE for his service, was held in Kabul's Pul-e-Charkhi prison, alongside inmates from the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

On Sunday, Mr Shaw told the BBC he was "very, very excited" he had been cleared, but the last four months had been "in all honesty, a living hell".

At the time he said: "I never thought, as an honest person with integrity, that I'd be put in this position.

"That's why I never ran away in the first place, even though advised to. But I didn't because I stood and I've got principles.

"And I'm just looking forward now to proper freedom now and taking these chains off," he said.

His family said they were "absolutely elated".

Mr Shaw's daughter Lisa Lucklyn-Malone, who lives in Kent, said her father had lost a lot of weight, and was physically and mentally drained, but the news would have "picked him up 100%".

"We've been sure of dad's innocence all along and we are truly grateful to the appeal court for its decision," she said.

She went on to thank people "all over the world" for their "incredible support".

At the appeal ruling, Mr Shaw's co-defendant, Afghan bodyguard and translator Maiwand Limar, had his sentence downgraded from two years to eight months.

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