Afghan jail man returns home

A MAN alleged to be part of a cigarette smuggling scam in Suffolk has returned to the country after being released from an Afghan jail.Colin Berry he had been held there for six months accused to killing two police officers.

A MAN alleged to be part of a cigarette smuggling scam in Suffolk has returned to the country after being released from an Afghan jail.

Colin Berry he had been held there for six months accused to killing two police officers.

Mr Berry, who identified himself as a former SAS soldier, was awaiting trial at Chelmsford Crown Court, after customs officers in Ipswich smashed an alleged cigarette smuggling scam.

Mr Berry, from Stanway, flew back to the UK at the weekend to be reunited with his wife, Alison, who has been campaigning for her husband's release since his arrest.

The 38-year-old father of two young sons was released on Wednesday following an appeal on compassionate grounds from Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. He is thought to be in urgent need of medical treatment.

He had been imprisoned following a shootout at the Intercontinental Hotel in the Afghanistan capital, Kabul, on February 25, which resulted in the death of two Afghan men.

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Mr Berry, of Dale Close, who was helping build homes in the war-torn city, was shot in the stomach during the exchange of fire and was treated in hospital before he was taken into custody.

He maintained the shootings were the work of someone else, but was accused of the murder and was held for six months without trial, making one court appearance in May when he was supported by embassy officials.

Mr Berry has returned to Britain uncertain as to whether further legal action will taken against him following the seizure of an illegal consignment of cigarettes at Rendlesham airfield.

Seven million contraband cigarettes were seized by customs officers in December 2000 following a seven-month undercover operation to bust an international crime ring.

Mr Berry was arrested after the contraband was seized at Deben Freight, based at Rendlesham airfield.

The case against Mr Berry was mentioned in his absence at Chelmsford Crown Court on June 20 and it was decided to leave it on file.

Mrs Berry said her husband was "totally" innocent of the charges brought against him and it was unclear last night if any further legal action would be taken against him.

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