Former Norwegian convict Joshua French, released because of poor health from a military prison in Congo, has now been released from hospital home in Norway. Even though millions were spent on his defense and attempts to transfer him to a Norwegian prison, French won’t speak publicly yet and is believed to be working on a book about his ordeal.
His release from hospital wasn’t even reported until three weeks after it occurred, first by Radio Norge, nor will his lawyer say where French is living, other than that he’s with his family in Norway. His mother had moved to Congo to be closer to her son and help care for him, but she has returned to Norway as well.
Foreign Minister Børge Brende has claimed there’s been no talk of any pardon for French or that he should continue to serve time in a Norwegian prison. Brende claims French was released on humanitarian grounds and is today a free man.
French and his late friend Tjostolv Moland, both former soldiers, were arrested and charged with the murder of their taxi driver in May 2009. Both were sentenced to death not only for the murder but for spying, illegal possession of firearms and armed robbery. Moland was later found dead in the cell he shared with French in Kinshasa in 2013, and French was charged with murdering him as well.
French later fell seriously ill and negotiations continued to win his release. He’s been treated in isolation for infections caused by multi-resistant bacteria. His attorney told Norwegian reporters that he’s now recovering and preoccupied with “practical things” like obtaining a bank card and new passport to “re-enter society” in Norway.