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Former Romanian Premier Adrian Nastase exits the Jilava prison on the outskirts of Bucharest, Romania, after judges voted Monday, March 18, 2013, to allow his immediate release after he served one-third of a two year sentence. His attorney had requested his release on the grounds that he is over age 60, and had written books and taught fellow prisoners in jail. Nastase, 62, was sentenced in June for illegally raising money for a 2004 failed presidential campaign.
BUCHAREST, Romania—A former Romanian prime minister who shot himself in the neck when police came to bring him to prison was freed Monday after serving one-third of his corruption sentence.

Adrian Nastase, the most senior politician to be jailed in Romania since 1989, when communism collapsed, went free after judges voted to allow his immediate release from Jilava prison, where he was serving a two-year sentence.

His attorney had requested his release due to the fact he is over 60, had written books and had taught fellow prisoners in jail.

Nastase said he looked forward to "breathing freedom" and maintained his innocence. He left the prison, 20 kilometers (11 miles) south of the capital, in a limousine accompanied by his elder son Andrei.

"I am very happy for him and his family and I am waiting to see him," said Prime Minister Victor Ponta, adding that his former mentor would be welcomed back into the Social Democracy Party that he led until 2005.

Nastase, 62, was sentenced in June for illegally raising money for a failed presidential campaign in 2004. He shot himself after learning he would be incarcerated. He served as prime minister from 2000 to 2004.