By Nick Harris
SJA Internet Sports Writer of the Year
1 February 2012
Mohammad Amir, 19, the youngest of the three Pakistan cricketers jailed last year for spot-fixing in the Lord’s Test in summer 2010, has been released from prison ‘in the last two hours’ according to sources close to the player. (Time of writing is 5.30pm on Wednesday).
The teenager had been sentenced to six months for his role in the affair and was due for release at the halfway stage on Friday.
Sources say he was released early, from Portland Prison near Weymouth, Dorset, for reasons pertaining to ‘security issues’ and media interest. The Ministry of Justice has declined to confirm the release or confirm the reasons.
Even Amir’s closest family are not fully aware of what he plans to do next amid concerns for his safety. He will be pursued by Pakistani and other media as soon as his whereabouts becomes known and will inevitably be asked what he knew about fixing, and who was / is behind fixing in cricket.
If Amir had not become involved in the spot-fixing scandal, he would almost certainly be playing in the current Test series between England and Pakistan. The third Test starts on Friday.
Amir is free to stay in England until his visa expires (in March, sources say) but it is not known if he will do so.
His solicitor, human rights lawyer Gareth Peirce, has also declined to comment. Amir is expected to put together an appeal to the Court for Arbitration in Sport (CAS) against the five-year ban handed to him by the ICC.
The other two cricketers convicted in the case, Salman Butt and Mohammad Asif, are believed to be in Canterbury Prison, serving terms of 30 months and a year respectively.
Asif has already launched an appeal to CAS over his seven-year cricketing ban.