| Salman Butt |
London: Former Pakistan captain Salman Butt, jailed in November for 30 months for spot-fixing, has been released from prison early.
Butt, 27, was released from Canterbury Prison in Kent on Wednesday night, his lawyers said.
He was jailed with bowlers Mohammed Asif, 29, and Mohammed Aamer, 19, for the bowling of deliberate no-balls in a 2010 Test match against England.
All three were also given five-year playing bans, which they are appealing.
Asif and Aamer, also jailed after conviction last year at Southwark Crown Court, have already been released.
Mazhar Majeed, 36, the London-based sports agent behind the fixing scandal, was jailed for two years and eight months.
Knowing when specific events in cricket matches will happen, such as the deliberate bowling of no-balls as in this case, can be of great value in betting scams.
Butt is thought to have been deported back to Pakistan because he was freed under the early removal scheme.
This allows foreign nationals to be released up to nine months before their scheduled release date as long as they are then deported.
A Prison Service spokeswoman said: “We do not comment on the release date of individual 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.”
His lawyers, 25 Bedford Row, said in a statement: “Butt’s early release has been obtained by the efforts of his legal team and in particular Yasin Patel. The former Pakistan Test cricket captain will return to his homeland following his conviction and sentence in the United Kingdom back in November 2011 at the Southwark Crown Court.
“It is expected that, on his return, he will work with his barrister in relation to the next step in his endeavour to return to the cricketing world.”
Patel said Butt was “tired and jaded” but would begin his efforts to return to the sport.
Aamer, tipped to be one of the world’s great fast bowlers, was released from Portland Prison in Dorset in February after serving half of a six-month sentence.
Asif was also released last month after serving half his sentence at Canterbury Prison.
In February, all three cricketers were banned from playing for five years by the International Cricket Council (ICC). They are appealing against the suspensions.
That Butt would be released early was first revealed by his father Zulfiqar, on Wednesday.
“We expect him to be released tonight (Thursday),” he had told a Pakistani channel. “My son’s good behaviour has led to the decision and he will be in Pakistan in the next three to four days,” Zulfiqar added.
Butt’s wife and elder son visited him in jail last month.