British Missionary Freed From Hard Labor in Gambian Prison

A British missionary who was sentenced to hard labor in a Gambian prison has been released.

The Foreign Office confirmed that David Fulton, 61, from Troon in Ayrshire had been released Friday, but it is still not clear if he has returned to the United Kingdom.

Fulton and his wife, Fiona, 47, were working as missionaries in the country when they were found guilty of sedition and sentenced to hard labor in December 2008. The couple admitted at the time to sending emails in which they criticized the Gambian government and the dominance of Islam in the country.

Fiona Fulton was released after serving one year in the prison and was later deported back to the U.K., where she's been campaigning for her husband's release.

David Fulton, meanwhile, had his sentence extended by three years last March after being convicted of forgery while working as an army chaplain.

The father of two's release Friday was welcomed by Stuart Windsor, national director of human rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

"We didn't know that David was going to be released so we're absolutely delighted," Windsor was quoted by the Scotsman as saying.

"There have been things going on covertly, negotiations, behind the scenes, but I don't know any more than that," he added.

In addition to being army chaplain, Fulton ran a ministry reaching out to remote villages via boat while his wife cared for terminally ill people.

Gambia is predominantly Muslim, with over 90 percent of the population belonging to the faith.