Salman Butt out of prison after cricket match-fixing scandal

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Just seven months into a 2-year sentence, Salman Butt became the last of the three Pakistan players to be released from prison for their roles in a match-fixing scandal that rocked the cricket world.

Butt's lawyers the former Pakistan captain will return immediately to Pakistan "to start to rebuild his reputation" after leaving Canterbury Prison in southeast England.

He was found guilty in November of conspiracy to cheat and conspiracy to accept corrupt payments by ensuring no-balls were bowled at predetermined times in a test against England at Lord's in August 2010.

Two other Pakistan players, bowlers Mohammad Amir and Mohammad Asif, were also part of the plot and were given shorter jail sentences.

"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," Butt's lawyer, Yasin Patel, said in a statement released to The Associated Press. "... 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."

London-based law firm 25 Bedford Row was unable to confirm British media reports that Butt had been freed under the government's early prisoner release program, which for foreign nationals usually involves them agreeing to be formally deported.

If that is the case, Butt will not be able to return to England for 10 years.

The 29-year-old Asif was freed from Canterbury Prison last month after serving half of his one-year sentence. Amir, 19, was released after three months of a six-month sentence.

All three players are in the process of serving five-year bans from cricket that were imposed by the International Cricket Council.