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British Thalidomide victim imprisoned for Philippines cannabis bust released

After being jailed for smuggling cannabis in the Philippines almost 20 years ago, British Thalidomide victim William Burton was finally freed today.

Burton, known as Billy, ended up behind bards in 1992 after being found in possession of 12lb of cannabis that he was attempting to transport out of the country. After campaigns in the UK that demanded a release on the grounds of his ill health, the Brit received a pardon from the Filipino President Beningo Aquino III.

Aged 48 and from Rufforth in North Yorkshire, Burton was released with the condition of returning home and never heading back to the Philippines. He was also ordered to pay a fine of 20,000 peso  Рroughly £294.

Guy Tweedy, the force behind the Free Billy Burton campaign, commented that Burton’s release was a huge relief. Tweedy explained how he had been campaigning for almost two years and that while no-one condones the behaviour that saw Burton jailed, the convict was deteriorating as a Thalidomider and needed resucing.

Mr Tweedy, who also hails from North Yorkshire, insisted that he will definitely be present when Mr Burton lands in the UK and would introduce himself immediately. He concluded that the freed man will now be able to get the proper medical treatment required for his condition, which would never be possible were he still jailed in the Philippines

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