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Morocco on Saturday freed a former world kickboxing champion, Zakaria Moumni, jailed 17 months ago on charges of racketeering, after he was pardoned by King Mohamed VI.
Moumni, 31, who lived in France prior to his arrest in Morocco, was due to have been released in April.
“I feel like a new-born. I’m happy, very happy. I was told of my release a few minutes ago,” he told AFP on being freed from prison in Sale, near Rabat.
Moumni, who won the world light contact kickboxing title in 1999, was arrested in 2010 on charges of accepting a 1,200 euro (1,570 dollars) bribe from two Moroccans in exchange for a promise to find them work in Europe.
Moumni said he confessed only because he was tortured.
His French wife Taline Moumni, who led a campaign to free him, said he was arrested and sentenced for “speaking out about corruption in the Moroccan boxing federation”.
A number of non-governemental organisations described his trial as “unfair”.