Simon Mann's family is 'overjoyed' at release

The family of freed British mercenary Simon Mann have thanked the president of Equatorial Guinea for pardoning the 57-year-old.

The former SAS soldier had been sentenced to 34 years in jail for his role in a coup plot in the oil-rich African nation. He was freed by President Teodoro Obiang Nguema on Tuesday.

In a statement, Mr Mann’s Jewish wife, Amanda, said: “Everyone is profoundly grateful to the president and the government of Equatorial Guinea.

“The whole family is overjoyed at the prospect of finally welcoming Simon home after five-and-a-half long years away.”

Mr Mann was reunited with his family, including children Freddy, Lilly, Bess and five-year-old son Arthur, who was born after his father was arrested, in Britain on Wednesday. All four children are Jewish, which Mr Mann knew was important to his wife.

In an interview with the JC last year, Mrs Mann, née Freedman, said she feared her husband would not make it out of Guinea alive.

Last updated: 4:42pm, November 5 2009