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Germany

Former Junior Minister Released From Jail

A former German junior defense minister was released from jail today after serving one half of a two-year, three-month sentence linked to an arms deal with Saudi Arabia. Ludwig-Holger Pfahls, 62, was sentenced earlier this month for accepting about two million euros ($2.5 million) in kickbacks from the deal and failing to declare the income. But a court in Augsburg ruled on Tuesday he should be released because he was in custody for more than one year before he was sentenced. Under the conditions of his release, Pfahls is not allowed to leave Germany and is required to take up residence in the country as well report to police every week. Pfahls served as state secretary for defence from 1987 to 1992 under then chancellor Helmut Kohl. Former chancellor Kohl saved Pfahls from a tougher sentence by testifying that Pfahls had had no influence over his controversial decision to sell Saudi Arabia 36 armoured vehicles during the 1991 Gulf War, based on a request by the US government.

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