US lawyer imprisoned in Belarus freed after pardon.


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1US lawyer imprisoned in Belarus freed after pardon .
2An ailing American lawyer who was imprisoned in Belarus last year on charges of using fake documents and attempted industrial espionage walked free Tuesday night after a presidential pardon .
3Emanuel Zeltser , a 55-year-old diabetic , was sentenced to three years in prison in August 2008 after being convicted in a closed trial on charges his supporters called politically motivated .
4In November , Zeltser was placed in a prison hospital after arriving at a penal colony in eastern Belarus , where he was denied medicine , according to lawyers .
5On leaving the prison clinic in the eastern town of Mogilyov , Zeltser said , `` I am glad about my freedom . ''
6`` I have problems with my health , I plan to get better .
7I am not making any plans , '' he said by telephone outside the prison .
8He refused to comment further .
9Zeltser , slightly limping , was met by U.S. officials and entered a car with them to head for the U.S. Embassy in Minsk .
10President Alexander Lukashenko signd dcre aronngZetsr ealir ueda .
11Blaus an its authoritarian leader are on a drive to court better political and economic ties with the West , and Washington had said Zeltser 's release would help the process .
12U.S. State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters earlier that Washington welcomed news that Zeltser would be released .
13`` We 're just happy that this American citizen , who really has been quite ill , is now able to leave prison , '' Kelly said .
14He said Zeltser 's imprisonment was `` a major obstacle in our bilateral relations .
15We still have other concerns , of course , with some of the actions of the Belarusian government .