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US journalist freed from Afghan jail

Written by: Staff
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KABUL, Apr 30 (Reuters) An American journalist was freed from jail in Afghanistan today after serving most of a two-year sentence for his involvement in running a private jail and illegally detaining men in a freelance war on terror.

Emmy award-winning documentary maker Edward Caraballo, 44, from New York, was one of three Americans jailed in 2004 after they were convicted of running a jail and torturing some men.

''He was released today under a presidential decree ... he's left the country,'' said Salaam Bakhshi, governor of the Kabul's Pul-i-Charkhi jail, where Caraballo and the other two Americans have been held.

The two Americans jailed with Caraballo -- former U.S. Green Beret Jonathan ''Jack'' Idema and another ex-serviceman, Brent Bennett -- were sentenced to 10-year prison terms in 2004.

Idema and his colleagues were accused of torturing eight Afghan men found at their house in Kabul when they were arrested following a shootout with security forces.

Pre-trial media reports around the world portrayed Idema as a vigilante and bounty hunter chasing the million fortune U.S. authorities have placed on the head of Osama bin Laden, who is thought to be hiding along the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Idema insisted he was in Afghanistan with U.S. and Afghan government sanction to help track down the al Qaeda leader and allied Taliban militants - something the U.S. government denied - and that Caraballo was just a journalist filming them.

REUTERS CH KP1805

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