Conflict & Justice

Soldier Danny Nightingale freed after appeal

British soldier Danny Nightingale was freed from prison Thursday after an appeals court shortened and then suspended his sentence for keeping a pistol given to him by Iraqi forces in 2007.

The court initially reduced Nightingale's 18-month sentence to 12 months, and then suspended it, according to CNN. The 11-year veteran of the British military's Special Air Service was released from custody shortly after the court's ruling, greeted by his wife and father.

British Defense Secretary Philip Hammond said he was thrilled that Nightingale is going home.

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"The justice system has worked, I was pleased that an appeal was heard quickly and it is right that a court should decide on whether the sentence was appropriate," Hammond told CNN. "The Court of Appeal has decided the sentence was too harsh and has freed him."

Former colleagues called the 37-year-old an "exceptionally good soldier," reported The Independent. Nightingale spoke to supporters and journalists outside the High Court in London, saying: "Thank you to the great British public. They have been absolutely wonderful in their support. It has just been extremely humbling. Very, very humbling."

According to The Telegraph, his wife added: "It can only be good for all the troops out there fighting for our country to see that justice has been done."