An innocent businessman held behind bars for a year has finally been released by US authorities after a Sutton Guardian campaign.

Kadhum Al-Sarraj, 29, who lives in Carshalton, was released from Camp Cropper in Baghdad on Wednesday, to the shock of his family, who feared he would be incarcerated indefinitely.

His wife Shereen Nasser, who is British, said he sounded “absolutely overwhelmed” when she spoke to him briefly on the phone.

She flew out to be reunited with her husband, an Iraqi national with a UK visa, on Friday, along with her parents, Raied, an IT consultant, and Hanaa, an accountant.

Mrs Nasser, 24, a research assistant, said: “I got a phone call from his brother first, saying, ‘He’s been released, he’s been released’.

“I couldn’t believe it, I just said ‘really?’. I was in shock.

“Then I spoke to my mother and she was just screaming down the phone. Finally he called me and I heard his voice for the first time in months.

“He sounded overwhelmed and stunned. He said he was fine and doing OK, I think he doesn’t want me to worry about him, but I just can’t wait to see him.

“None of us expected this. We had no idea when he would be released.”

Mr Al-Sarraj, 29, a salesman with medical equipment supplier Matana, was picked up by American forces as he flew into northern Iraq to sell pacemakers in September last year.

The Americans swooped after mistaking his former MSc degree project measuring cardiac output for a bomb device.

An Iraqi court found him innocent of any offences in April, but US authorities kept him in Camp Cropper – the holding camp of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussain – on the premise that he was still regarded as a security threat.

Mrs Nasser began a campaign for his release, which involved Amnesty International writing to the Multinational Forces senior commander in Iraq, Brigadier David Quantock, and the head of detainee affairs in Washington.

MP for Sutton and Carshalton Tom Brake’s campaign to the Government also resulted in Prime Minister Gordon Brown asking British Foreign Office officials to speak to their US counterparts about the case.

Less than two days before his release Multinational Forces chief of public affairs, Lieutenant-Colonel Patricia Johnson said she could not confirm when Mr Al-Sarraj would be released.

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